Wednesday, 19 September 2018

The Greater South West Local Enterprise Partnership >>> of 'mis-speak' and the unrealistic expectations of growth

It's all rather confusing as to what regional business set-ups we have:
Futures Forum: District Councils must be 'fully represented' on Local Enterprise Partnerships
Futures Forum: Can the Devon/Somerset Local Enterprise Partnership 'double' the regional economy in 18 years?
Futures Forum: The picture of 'devolution' in the South West gets murkier

There are the impressive headlines and 'big initiatives', though: 

Leaders call for a Great South West 'ministerial champion'

Steve Hindley, chairman of the Great South West partnership explains the next steps for the campaign

Hannah Finch
17 SEP 2018

Steve Hindley CBE DL has more reason than most to listen closely when the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, reveals his Autumn Statement later this year.

As chairman of the Great South West Partnership, Heart of the South West LEP and Midas, one of the region’s biggest construction firms, he has been at the forefront of a campaign for the South West to get the recognition it deserves with the man who hold the country’s purse strings.

Mr Hindley said: “I am hopeful of getting a mention, they do know that the South West exists,” he said.

Mr Hindley is at the forefront of the Great South West vision. Together with the #BackTheSouthWest campaign, spearheaded by Western Morning News and Pennon Group, it quickly gathered momentum after the first South West Growth Summit in October 2016 - just four months after the decision to vote leave in the Brexit referendum.

It gave rise to The South West Growth Charter, which outlined priorities for the region and was heard in parliament.

Since then, the Great South West committee has been formed.

Now, six months until Brexit actually happens in March, the alliance of business leaders, local authorities and higher education chiefs have officially launched its Great South West vision that aims to put the South West on the UK economic stage.

Mr Hindley said: “Having an identity is incredibly important. The Great South West is our equivalent of the Northern Powerhouse or the Midlands Engine. We have told our MPs that we want them to put the Great South West on the map at Westminster.
 The Great South West already has an economy twice the size of Greater Manchester’s and the West Midland’s yet we do not share the same level of investment.

“We have got Plymouth and Exeter and in terms of nuclear, we have the largest building project in Europe under way at Hinkley Point C.

“This is essentially us putting forward our business case and it is great news that we have got the business sector in the driving seat.”

The Great South West vision covers the geographic area covered by LEPs in Dorset, Heart of the South West in Devon and Somerset and Cornwall.

Leaders call for a Great South West 'ministerial champion' - Devon Live

But perhaps we need to look behind the 'great news' a little: 


17 September 2018

Below is a comment on an earlier post:

... reprinted here as it raises some interesting questions, raised by David Daniel, who so eloquently spoke about the unrealistic expectations of our LEPs growth strategy to a largely uninformed and disinterested majority of Conservative councillors at DCC recently:
Watch EDA councillor Shaw and Budleigh resident David Daniel make most sense on LEP “strategy” | East Devon Watch

This now seems to be the THIRD such trial marriage of various south-west LEPs. None of them seem to be made in heaven ……….

“WESSEX here we come!

English devolution is a mess, whether it will evolve into anything sensible is uncertain.

A third of people living in England outside London live in one of England’s nine combined authorities, six being cities with directly elected mayors. These are corporate bodies formed of two or more local government areas to enable decision-making across boundaries on issues that extend beyond the interests of any one individual local authority, like strategic transport planning.

Our nearest is the West of England Combined Authority of: Bristol; North Somerset; Bath and North East Somerset; and South Gloucester. The Government has encouraged the creation of these structures in order to provide the economic scale needed for devolution. These are on the fast track.

County identities are medieval in origin but they continue to lurk in our consciences. We identify with them democratically and historically. The focus of the Coalition 2010 white paper that set devolution in progress was to create administrations based on economic functional areas rather than regions. This has set in train a conflict between perceived economic necessity and community identity and democracy. A few Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) followed county boundaries eg Cornwall and Scilly, and Dorset, but most did not. Some even overlapped.

Following on from the combined authorities, which are all centred on what one might describe as metropolitan areas, we are beginning to see the creation of new concepts by the combination of LEPs into “power” groupings such as the Council of the North, Midlands Engine, Oxbridge Corridor etc.

We now have the Great South West Partnership of: Heart of the South West (HotSW), Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, and Dorset LEPs. Or do we? The reason I add a question mark is because not very long ago (April to be exact) we had the Great South West Partnership comprising FOUR LEPs, including Swindon and Wiltshire “working together” to agree the next steps in implementing the recommendations of a report on Productivity. We were also told that GFirst (Gloucester) and West of England (Bristol) LEPs were also taking an active interest.

In his first interview on Somerset Live the new HotSW Chief Executive, David Ralph said “We’ve set a really big ambition about doubling the size of the economy in this area over the next 30 years.”
Everything you need to know about local enterprise partnerships - Somerset Live

Previously the target had been to double the economy in 20 years. When I asked for clarification I was told it was a mis-speak, not a change of policy to something slightly more realistic.

So who knows where we are going?”

Local Enterprise Partnership – Partnership: Arise Wessex! Or maybe not …! | East Devon Watch

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