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Chair of Solent LEP welcomes strengthened role for LEPs

25 July 2018

LEP business leaders today welcomed publication of the government’s Review of Local Enterprise Partnerships, and the additional £20m funding that underpins it. It will enable LEPs to continue to build on their strengths as unique business led local organisations, brokering business partnerships, developing local Industrial Strategies, and setting the economic direction that shapes their local area.

In return for building their reformed role, LEP business leaders in the Solent want to see a commitment from government to the funding and means to deliver the scale of opportunity that the review offers the area.  Solent LEP business leaders also want to see a joint commitment from government departments to the localism agenda, particularly in relation to improving connectivity between the cities of Portsmouth and Southampton, prioritising support for areas such as the Isle of Wight and Gosport that are seeking to unlock their economic potential, and investing in the areas key international gateway and University assets.

Publication of the review follows on from the successful Prime Minister’s first Council of LEP Chairs, attended by Solent LEP Chairman Gary Jeffries in June, as part of their ongoing role in developing local Industrial Strategies, and preparing for implementation of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).  The Solent LEP also wants to see confirmation that LEPs will oversee the local allocations of the UKSPF to build on the success of our £183m Growth Deal which is already creating jobs, supporting businesses and encouraging growth in the Solent. Ahead of this, the Solent LEP will shortly be launching a new call for projects which will help further develop our pipeline of future investments that can be brought forward through either our existing Growth Deal or a future Shared Prosperity Fund, to help unlock the world-class potential of the Solent area.

The Communities Secretary, Rt. Hon James Brokenshire MP, said:

"This publication of the Strengthened Local Enterprise Partnerships policy represents a step change in approach for LEPs. We will continue our work to strengthen these leading institutions to develop ambitious strategies for growth and build an economy which is fit for the future."

Solent LEP Chairman Gary Jeffries, said:

"I welcome the publication of this review and recognition that LEPs are central to supercharging future economic growth and driving investment in local business. I look forward to working with Government and local stakeholders to come forward with a proposal which builds on the strengths of our existing partnership to ensure that the area is in the best position to drive forward local prosperity and ensure that our area stands ready to play an important part in the growth of our national economy after our exit from the European Union. We also welcome the additional funding that has been announced for LEPs and will use this to strengthen the work that has already begun on developing a new vision and compelling long term plan as part of the response to Government."