Julian lobbies Northern Powerhouse Minister on ensuring Local Enterprise Partnerships deliver for rural areas
February 7, 2018
Yesterday afternoon, Julian convened a cross-party meeting with the Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, Jake Berry, to discuss whether Local Enterprise Partnerships are doing enough for countryside communities. Julian led the meeting in his capacity as Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Rural Business.
The discussion was open to MPs and peers, and relevant external organisations like the Federation of Small Businesses, National Farmers Union, and Countryside Alliance.
Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) are business-led local partnerships between businesses and local authorities. Their remit is to help drive local economic growth and job creation, with local decision-makers and business people able to decide regional economic priorities, for example in making decisions about investment in transport, buildings and other facilities. York is covered by the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership, which notably provided City of York Council with £300,000 last September to fund a development study into fully dualling the A1237 section of the city’s ring road.
LEPs cover large rural areas and do valuable work, but there is a perception that they are quite urban-focused, and can risk being dominated by the local authorities of larger towns and cities, and therefore fail to adequately balance the needs of rural, suburban and urban communities.
After the meeting, Julian commented: “I thought it was important to invite the Minister to discuss this issue, which really matters for our city and region. Our LEP’s grant for the ring road development study demonstrates the good these bodies can do, but we have to make sure that they properly integrate the needs of all communities in the areas they cover.
LEPs should work so as to ensure local growth and job creation benefits urban and rural residents and does not leave out any neighbourhoods, and I believe this is the message the Minister took from the meeting. The transport infrastructure, tech facilities and other assets of larger towns and cities should be set up to serve their regions as a whole, to ensure all can benefit from the new prosperity generated.”