Now the hard work begins. That seems to be overwhelming message following Vince Cable’s invitation yesterday for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to move forward with its own Local Enterprise Partnership.
While the Government published its White Paper yesterday mapping out its vision for local growth, as ever with these things, there remain some unanswered questions as to how the LEP will pan out exactly.
We haven’t got long, however, as come March time, the RDA it is intended to replace will be no more.
So, as mentioned, the hard work begins. And whenever hard work is involved, it always helps if we all pull in the same direction. But ever since the new coalition Government announced that it was scrapping the RDAs in favour of the LEPs, there has been a frantic jostling for power.
Indeed, the squabbles in the south west have been quite unseemly at times, and you can bet those east of the Tamar are quite miffed this morning that their vision for a Devonwall LEP has been dismissed.
Speaking to purely Cornish businesses over the past few months, there has been overwhelming support for a Cornwall and Isles of Scilly led scheme. A Cornwall standing on its own two feet, supporting its own interests without the distraction of issues that have little to do with us.
But many of those with offices across the south west have been a little more circumspect, believing there is greater strength in numbers. The fear is that when Convergence runs out, say, a joint Devon and Cornwall would be able to shout louder to be noticed in Whitehall than an isolated Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP.
There is little point in expanding on that argument now, though. The job now is to ensure we don’t give the doubters any “I told you so” opportunities.
The argument now, and battle I fear, will be the extent of private sector involvement in the new LEP. The Council has its hands on the tiller, but it must let businesses up on the bridge.