The announcement by the Government that it has accepted the majority of the recommendations proposed by Lord Heseltine to help stimulate the growth of the UK economy has been welcomed by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Economic Partnership (LEP).
A joint report published this week by the Treasury and Department of Business, confirmed that the Government has accepted 81 of the 89 recommendations put forward by Lord Heseltine in his ‘No Stone Unturned’ review published in October 2012.
Members of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP met with Lord Heseltine’s team a few months ago and laid out their views on how to drive economic growth in Cornwall.
Welcoming the announcement, LEP chairman Chris Pomfret said: “The Government has supported virtually all the key recommendations for moving responsibility for economic growth to the local area. Surely this must be the correct move for decision making to go to those on the ground who know and understand their area, in our case, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
“We are particularly pleased to see the introduction of the local growth fund, which is due to come into being from 2015. This new single fund will enable us to target support more specifically and pool funds for transformational initiatives.
“We particularly welcome the discretionary element of the fund where LEPs can put forward specific proposals for additional money. While we have yet to see the detail, this does suggest the Government have gone some way to address our concerns.
“An element, but not all, of the funds are likely to be based on population rather than need. Whilst we have concerns about this – as areas such as the less populated South West tend to lose out – we will be arguing hard for more emphasis to be placed on need and opportunity.
“The whole process will be predicated on agreement to a strategic economic plan drawn up by the LEP but with the support of local authorities. We have this in place in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The Government’s proposals also expect local authorities to pool economic development and other specialist resources with the LEP. Happily this is also already the case in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly”.