Fresh rumpus over LEPs

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The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is to lead a national network for the new Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP).

BCC director general David Frost will chair the network, which is intended to act as an “advocate for the LEPs” in Whitehall. It will also, apparently, include representatives from the CBI, the Institute of Directors (IoD), and the FSB, among others.

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said: “British Chambers of Commerce came forward with a very strong proposal and with its existing business network across the country it is really well placed to anchor business at the centre of new local enterprise.”

However, several of the groups named by the Government to the network, including the FSB, IoD, and Forum for Private Businesses, are said to be far from happy with the set-up.

The FSB’s head of public affairs, Andrew Cave, said: “Contrary to the Government’s statement the FSB does not support this move and considers it to be contrary to the interests of the localism agenda.

“It smacks of a top down approach which is the antithesis of localism and we would prefer to see a transparent process with an independent body.”

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