The government has committed to negotiating deals with all 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in England, devolving power and accountability to local areas to drive economic growth, and providing opportunities for local business and civic leaders to set out their priorities for growth in their areas.
Under the deals, LEPs will be integral in deciding how the £2 billion Local Growth Fund is spent in their area, and their proposals for Local Growth Deals would be expected to include measures using local authority assets and creating a long-term strategy to put growth at the heart of everything they do. As well as money from the fund, they will also be expected to bring in significant private sector jobs and investment.
Lord Heseltine and Lord Shipley will advise ministers on individual proposals brought forward by the LEPs, and will challenge the LEPs themselves to produce the best possible proposals. They already work closely together as Chair and Vice-Chair of the Regional Growth Fund Advisory Panel advising ministers on applications to the fund from businesses looking to generate growth and create jobs around the country. They will not receive a salary from the government for these roles.
Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister said:
This is another step forward in handing more power from Whitehall to local people. I am delighted that Lord Heseltine and Lord Shipley have agreed to bring their expertise and enthusiasm to bear on Local Growth Deals. Their work together on the Regional Growth Fund Advisory Panel has been integral to the success we have seen there.
Greg Clark, Minister for Cities, said:
As we work towards the completion of the second phase of City Deals, these local Growth Deals will take the government vision for local growth to the next level, and the huge experience of Lord Heseltine and Lord Shipley will be vital to that. As the economy turns the corner, Local Growth Deals will ensure not only that every part of the country can take advantage of the recovery, but has the opportunity to be right there in the driving seat.
Lord Heseltine said:
The best model to provide sustainable growth is to create a balanced partnership between the government, business and local leaders. There has already been significant progress, but Local Growth Deals will be absolutely key to unleashing the creativity and energy in every part of the country. Local people know what will unleash growth in their areas and I look forward to challenging and supporting them in articulating this.
Lord Shipley said:
Following on from the success of the City Deals, I am delighted to be involved in the next exciting chapter of the government’s decentralisation agenda.
Local Growth Deals, which build on the achievements of the City Deals that have already been agreed between the government, local authorities and LEPS, follow recommendations from Lord Heseltine in his ‘No Stone Unturned’ report on how to unleash the dynamic potential of our local economies.
Part of this deal process will be the competitive allocation of Local Growth Fund resources (£2 billion in 2015 to 2016 and at least £2 billion a year over the life of the next Parliament), but Local Growth Deals are also about wider influence and the handover of power from Whitehall to local areas, who will need to show they are committed to this agenda by bringing their own resources to the table as well.