Much discussion this week as to the make-up of the Local Enterprise Partnerships, which are set to replace the RDAs across England.
Local authorities have until September 6 to deliver their submissions to the Government, and here in Cornwall, plans appear to be taking shape.
The LEP was a topic high on the agenda at the Cornwall Social Media Cafe this week, while the Council presented its latest position at a breakfast meeting at the newly opened Pool Innovation Centre.
While there are many parts of the picture to be coloured in, it would appear as if things are leaning towards a Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP, and not a coalition with Devon, or even parts of Dorset as well, as has been called for from some.
There is also likely to be a significant private sector involvement as well, although how exactly this will pan out is as yet unclear.
The private and public sectors in Cornwall have not always been on the same page, and while discussions are progressing between the two as to the make-up of the LEP, how it will work in reality and what influence the private sector will have over public and Convergence funds, we will have to wait and see.
“Business should be at the heart of our LEP”, we are told, but the “CDC (Cornwall Development Company) will be the focus for the delivery of our economic strategy”.
The public sector is, of course, a key player in the Cornish economy. “If we catch a cold, the Cornish economy catches a cold,” Council chief executive Kevin Lavery told us recently.
And with further details emerging this week of the coming Council cutbacks that are likely to cost some 2,000 jobs over the next few years, Lavery’s prophecy will soon be put to the test.
The Government would like the private sector to pick up the slack that these cuts will create, but is this possible in Cornwall? Are local businesses up to the challenge of covering these 2,000 jobs and driving future growth in the Duchy?
Its position within the LEP will surely be key if it is to meet this challenge. Let us know your thoughts on the panel below.