LEPs pitch £30BN ‘recovery and rebuild deal’ to government

Tuesday 13th of October 2020 12:54 PM

Nick Abell, chair of the CWLEP

The Local Enterprise Partnership Network (LEP Network) has proposed a £30bn ‘Recovery and Rebuild Deal’ with government as part of LEP plans to drive regional recovery at pace.

The deal, set out in the LEP Network’s submission to the Chancellor’s Comprehensive Spending Review, is part of a business led local recovery and says how LEPs will help unlock £30bn of private sector leverage and secure a return on investment of c.£100bn in additional economic benefit.

In return for this, the government is asked to agree a three year core-funding settlement of £120m across all LEPs, who currently survive on “just in time funding” for the year ahead, and a three year government investment across business support and skills of £7.5bn.

Chair of the LEP Network, Mark Bretton, said: “We face one of the biggest economic challenges of modern times. Balancing the wellbeing and health of the country against protecting the very livelihoods that enable it to function is a tough call. The deal we’re putting to government seeks to strike that balance in the most efficient and effective way to recover and rebuild our local economies. 

“LEPs led a rapid response to the immediate business impact of COVID-19, helping hundreds of thousands of businesses survive through their LEP Growth Hubs. That means we clearly understand first-hand how our communities are being impacted by the pandemic.

“Our recovery plans are now well-advanced, and we stand ready to seal the deal with government to secure the recovery the country needs. This isn’t just another ask for hard pressed funds – we are offering a clear benefit return of more than three times the investment we seek.”

Nick Abell, chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), added: “LEPs have emphasised their importance to their local areas throughout the Coronavirus pandemic and we are perfectly placed to help lead the economic recovery.

“We have developed our Reset Strategic Framework to draw on our strengths and resilience, and to develop and deliver support for businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire for the long-term.

“The strength of our partnership working with local authorities, the district and borough councils, the Chamber of Commerce, FSB, two universities and the general business community has underpinned our past success – and it will deliver for our future which is why we believe we need this deal in place for all LEPs.”

LEP plans to create a business-led, local response to recover and rebuild the economy include:

  • Delivering a place-based rebuilding programme to level up and close the opportunity gap.
  • Providing targeted fiscal tools and investment to drive a business led stimulus programme that improves productivity and business confidence.
  • Supporting people to achieve the right skills that employers will need, balancing local business investment with local investment in people. 
  • Harnessing local leadership to accelerate zero carbon innovative growth across all areas of our recovery and rebuild proposals.
  • Investing in this historic task by supporting LEPs, building on their business-led agility, strong local partnerships, and proven track record on delivery at pace.     

LEP Boards have over 330 senior business leaders who sit alongside over 180 elected local authority leaders working in partnership to deliver locally led inclusive growth. This unique relationship has to date enabled LEPs to:

  1. Create over 180,000 jobs.
  2. Support the building of over 100,000 new homes.
  3. Leverage over £15bn of investment from the private sector.
  4. Establish a ready-made pipeline of local infrastructure investments.
  5. Equip three million people with the skills employers and business want.

LEP proposals include an initial four-year settlement of £20bn that would incorporate the Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) and replace previous capital investment strands, including the Local Growth Fund. Individual LEP investments would be negotiated against a set of local outcome targets, with delivery reported through the government’s Mid-Year and Annual Reviews of LEPs. It is critical that this is agreed at pace to ensure no gap at the end of 2020 when the ability to contract new investments comes to a cliff edge.

LEPs have also adapted their proposals in the event of a one year ‘fast track’ CSR. Working towards the Recovery and Rebuild Deal outlined above, this would include; annual core funding of £40m; an investment of £30m for LEP Growth Hub business support; and commencement of the capital and revenue programmes identified in our CSR proposition with LEPs bidding to initiate the four year £20bn capital fund.

Caption: Nick Abell, chair of the CWLEP