LEP Reveals Successes and a Foundation for Growth
Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) chair Edwin Booth has revealed vital information about the organisation’s progress and initiatives in the pipeline at an exclusive event hosted by ICAEW Chartered Accountants North West yesterday (8 July 2015).
The LEP was established four years ago and after an admitted stuttering start, has found its feet with some significant achievements across the county.
Edwin was joined by head of business growth and innovation at Lancashire County Council’s Economic Development Service, Andy Walker and the key points were summarised as:
Lancashire growth deal: six year, £250m programme to create up to 5000 jobs, safeguard 3000 jobs and deliver up to 5500 new homes
Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal: 10 year strategic investment programme (c. £340m) to accelerate employment and housing growth with significant transport infrastructure growth
Enterprise Zone at Samlesbury and Warton: work has begun on the site which aims to create 6,000 jobs over 25 years
Growing Places Fund: £20m commercially invested in eight schemes which leverage more than £100m investment, supporting 3,000 new jobs
Boost: launched in September 2013 and provides a single point of access for SMEs seeking business support. The scheme has added £10m (GVA) to the local economy
Edwin said: “We’ve made significant progress over the past four years and have laid excellent foundations to continue this. We have demonstrated to our partners and government that we can deliver projects that produce tangible economic benefits which has given us real credibility for future initiatives.
“The LEP has built a strong partnership across both public and private sector bodies and has a strong and experienced board which again gives us a great foundation for further growth.
“One area we aim to improve on is our communication with the business community. We haven’t really shared our successes and we have put plans in place to engage with the SME community in particular and create open dialogue with this crucial growth element of our local economy.”
The LEP is also working on a number of new initiatives including the Blackpool Enterprise Zone on the former airport site, which will have the potential to accommodate 140 new businesses and a centre of excellence for training in the energy sector.
Boost Lancashire will continue for another three years with an additional £8m committed to help SMEs grow.
There will also be a key focus on skills with the creation of the Lancashire Skills Board which was established in 2013 and is currently developing a skills growth plan and has helped secure £6.3m of funding and a new £30m FE capital programme.
The Northern Powerhouse also commanded part of the day’s debate. Edwin discussed the establishment of a board which would have direct discussions with government, as well as widening the initiative’s reach to places including Carlisle, Hull, Liverpool and Leeds.
President of the ICAEW Chartered Accountants North West, Richard Crowther, said: “We were really pleased to welcome Edwin and Andy to our leaders’ lunch and the delegates learned a lot about the work of the LEP. We understand SMEs are the lifeblood of the Lancashire economy but this big picture thinking helps to drive strategic growth in sectors that are strong in our county and help benefit the wider business community.
“The LEP has promised to address our members again and report on progress next year.”
Held at the Tickled Trout in Preston, the event was attended by around 50 professionals from across the across the region and as far afield as London.
For more information contact:
Katie Beckham at The Write Angle
Notes to editor:
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