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Government retention of RDA expertise is essential

The government should offer funding to enable Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to retain expertise from Regional Development Agencies (RDAs), a report by a Department for Business, Innovation and Skills select committee urged this week.

The committee recommended that the government set aside funds for managing the retention of RDA expertise. But it warned that expertise is already disappearing, with staff already seeking new positions, and estimated that a third of RDA jobs have already been lost.

An RDA National Secretariat spokesman previously told NCE that it could take six to 12 months for any expertise retention measures to be co-ordinated. (NCE 21 October).

“This expertise was not easily, quickly or cheaply acquired, and it is vital that LEPs do not have to begin from scratch.”

Regional Studies Association

“This expertise was not easily, quickly or cheaply acquired, and it is vital that LEPs do not have to begin from scratch,” the Regional Studies Association told the committee.

The committee said it “assumed” that LEPs will advise local authorities on the production of local development plans.

It said they could also work with Government to set out key infrastructure investment priorities, co-ordinate proposals for the Regional Growth Fund, make representation on the development of national planning policy, and co-ordinate approaches to leveraging private funding. But it warned that RDAs suffered from taking on too many responsibilities, and the same could happen to LEPs.

The committee said there will likely be around 40 LEPs in total, but the 27 approved so far only have a “patchy” coverage of England. A further three LEPs in New Anglia, the Black Country and Worcestershire were added this week to the original 24 approved in October (NCE 28 October).

Readers' comments (1)

  • Adrian Bailey MP, Chair of the Committee's statement is correct - "to succeed, LEPs will need the powers and recognition required to give substance to their visions for turning local economies around" - but is there a will in DCLG or BIS to make this happen - sadly there is no evidence that either BIS or DCLG have the will to provide these powers or thes funding. LEPs therefore have great potential to be a vacuous waste of time - they have no formal role , they have no power (they cannot direct), they have no funding ......

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