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AGMA reveals plans for new LEP

New regional development body vies for government cash

Published on August 23rd 2010.

AGMA reveals plans for new LEP

Marketing Manchester to the rest of the world will be at the heart of a proposed new local enterprise partnership (LEP) to help drive the region’s economy.

The new LEP – which would be led by the private sector - also wants to work across employment and skills; business support; science and innovation and accessing inward investment and European funding.

The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) has outlined its plans for a regional LEP, which are expected to replace regional development agencies in 2012.

A report, drawn up by Manchester City Council chief executive Sir Howard Bernstein, said Greater Manchester could drive private sector growth through business tourism and boost the city’s attractiveness as business location.

‘The economic importance of marketing Greater Manchester to the outside world has been recognised and significant momentum has already been gained in improving the national and international perceptions of the area,’ it said.

‘It is crucial that the LEP continues to focus on the economic importance of marketing the city to the outside world; raising its national and international profile, attracting businesses, residents and visitors, underpinning activity to attract talent and develop international links, and also instilling a sense of pride and place in local residents. It is crucial that the momentum we have created over the past decade is maintained.’

Sir Howard said AGMA was also ‘exploring with government’ the case for piloting a single pot of funding for economic development, transport, and housing.

‘We believe the LEP and Greater Manchester Combined Authority can provide evidence of how localism can drive economic growth and reduce public spending in a way that specifically protects the most vulnerable in society,’ he said.

‘We are seeking from Government the freedom to make evidence based decisions, arising from a robust and pioneering cost benefit analysis, over the deployment of public sector resources.

‘We wish to enter into negotiations with the government for the devolution of a single budget to the Greater Manchester LEP for economic development, housing, environment and transport and to ensure that the LEP has sufficient freedom to leverage growth and enhanced investment from Greater Manchester’s assets.’

The new LEP – which would be led by the private sector - also wants to work across employment and skills; business support; science and innovation and accessing inward investment and European funding.

A number of quangos and external agencies will also have input into the news structure, including the Business Leadership Council; Marketing Manchester, MIDAS, the Chambers of Commerce; Manchester Solutions; Manchester Knowledge Capital and the Commission for the New Economy.’

The report said that raising skill levels and reducing high levels of worklessness were ‘critical issues’ for the Greater Manchester LEP. It also said the LEP would introduce ‘new multi-agency commissioning models which will operate at the most local levels’ to help curb unemployment and improve skills.

‘The LEP will be an even stronger articulation of our existing partnership of local authorities, private sector, and others across the public and voluntary and community sectors,’ said the report.

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