LEP gathering momentum


A senior group of business leaders has today praised the recent progress shown in establishing the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Despite the process getting off to, in the words of Cornwall Chamber chief executive Richard Glover, a “faltering start”, he is pleased with the way things are now progressing.

He said: “This has been a difficult process. Government gave no clear steer on what a LEP should look like. Whilst this gave us all an opportunity to structure something that will work for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, it also created a temporary vacuum in leadership.

“The result was confusion and delay. I am pleased to say the private sector has got its act together and working with the public sector we should have a chairman and a board in place in the next couple of months. Those of us who have worked behind-the-scenes from the outset feel that this is the beginning of a sensible structure going forward.”

“This is a big opportunity for us all”

The recruitment process to form the LEP board is now well underway. 71 applications for the part-time posts have been received, with interviews due to begin shortly.

The intention is to create a private-sector led body which will further accelerate growth in Cornwall’s economy.

“This is a big opportunity for us all,” said Andrew Holland, of PALL Corporation and chair of the Cornwall Manufacturers Forum.

“Many in the private sector have called for a greater influence on economic policy and investments made with taxpayers’ money. This new body will give us exactly that. The challenge for the board will be to identify the right priorities initially. As a group of business organisations we will provide opinion and information, but the board will have the responsibility for getting things right.”

The partnership is also bringing together business organisations, some for the first time, strengthening the voice of Cornwall’s employers and wealth generators.

“For some years now the voice of the private sector has been diluted by having lots and lots of small groups with minor disagreements,” said Mary Anson of Cornwall Partners in Care, the body for private sector employers providing adult social care.

“If the LEP does nothing more than bring together sensible opinions from time-to-time, to give them extra weight, then it will have done a worthwhile job.”