10/10/2023 - Permalink

Councils set to agree process to end Marches LEP support

Related topics: Corporate / Economic growth / Partner organisations

The three councils involved in the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) are set to begin the process of ending the existing way support is given to businesses. They will focus on expanding and accelerating new local arrangements to support economic growth across each of the council areas.

This follows a decision by the Government earlier this year to devolve LEP responsibilities back to local councils.

A paper outlining the new arrangements will be considered by each of the council’s Cabinets at their meetings in October.

Shropshire Council, Herefordshire Council and Telford & Wrekin Council are proposing to set up a Joint Committee that will oversee the transition of the assets, resources and responsibilities of the Marches LEP to the three councils by the end of March 2024.

The move will see each of the three councils have greater control on how support for businesses is tailored to meet local needs.

In Shropshire’s case, successor arrangements are already established such as the Shropshire Economic Partnership. Work being progressed under the emerging Marches Forward Partnership, working with Herefordshire Council, Powys County Council and Monmouthshire County Council, is also expected to cover some of the LEP’s remit and provide opportunity to consider and support cross border business needs.

The Joint Committee would manage and distribute the LEP’s existing assets and responsibilities such as ongoing contracts and grant funding, working with the LEP’s board on the transfer.

Lezley Picton, Leader of the Council, said:-

“We are very grateful to the Marches LEP for their hard work over the last 11 years supporting our businesses and economy.

“However, from next April, we will move to new arrangements that will give greater local control and accountability, while at the same time allowing us scope to continuing working very closely with our neighbours where it’s beneficial to do so, and there will clearly be many examples of this.

“With the proposed Joint Committee, and through arrangements such as the Shropshire Economic Partnership and the new Marches Forward Partnership, Shropshire has a very good base from which we can help ensure that our businesses continue to grow and flourish, and we are promoting Shropshire as a place that means business.”

Shropshire Council’s Cabinet will consider the paper at its meeting on Wednesday 18 October 2023.