Local Enterprise Partnership for Birmingham & Solihull with East Staffordshire, Lichfield and Tamworth gets the green light
Business and local authority leaders in Birmingham, Solihull, East Staffordshire, Lichfield and Tamworth are celebrating after the Government informed them that it has approved their proposals for a Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
Mike Whitby, leader of Birmingham City Council, welcomed the announcement, saying: “The coalition Government has recognised the strength of our LEP, which I hope will shortly include Bromsgrove as well.
“As partners who want to work together we are determined to enrich the lives of over 1.5 million people by increasing prospects, job opportunities and quality of life.
“In June the Government laid down the gauntlet to businesses and local authorities, and asked them to work together in a new way to tackle the challenges of growth and prosperity, and I am delighted that today they have endorsed our bold vision for the future. Together we have all the ingredients to be a powerful driver of not only our local economy, but the UK growth agenda as well.”
Councillor Ian Hedley, leader of Solihull Council, said: “This is a great vote of confidence in Solihull, Birmingham and southern Staffordshire and in the ability of our business community to work with us to create growth. I am delighted that the Government has recognised the ambition, vision and potential in our proposal and in our partnership: we are a partnership that is focussed on delivery – on growing our business base, and creating new jobs and new opportunities for local people – and we can now start the real work that will let us do this. By combining our strengths and building on the potential of our businesses and our communities, we will exceed expectations and become the globally competitive economy we know we can be.”
Jerry Blackett, Chief Executive of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are delighted by today’s decision to endorse the Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership with East Staffordshire, Lichfield and Tamworth.
“But this is just the beginning of our journey; our eyes must remain firmly on the prize of making this LEP the easiest place in Europe in which to set up and run a business.”
Peter Farmer, chair of the Tamworth and Lichfield Business Economic Partnership and owner of the Grapevine, said: “Now the hard work begins in earnest. We must deliver on our commitments to grow jobs, wealth and employment across the Local Enterprise Partnership.
“One of our first tasks will be to deliver some quick wins that will benefit businesses from the outset. These will include extending access to finance, via the InvestBX stock exchange for example, launching a virtual boardroom to provide business mentoring and expanding the successful Think Local 4 Business programme, which currently supports local procurement and co-ordinates business support across east Staffordshire, Tamworth and Lichfield.”
In June 2010 the Government has challenged business leaders and local authorities to join together to create LEPs that cover natural local economies. LEPs are intended to have the responsibility for helping strengthen local economies, encouraging economic development and enterprise, and for improving skills.
56 areas across England submitted similar proposals for LEPs, but less than half have been approved. The successful joint proposal from business leaders and the local authorities in Birmingham, Solihull, East Staffordshire, Lichfield and Tamworth was underpinned by a desire to:
Increase economic output (GVA) in the area by £8.25 billion by 2020; Create 100,000 private sector jobs by 2020;
Stimulate growth in the business stock and business profitability; Boost indigenous and inward investment;
Become global leaders in key sectors, including: automotive assembly; low carbon R&D, business and professional services; financial services; clinical trials; creative and digital sectors;
Increase the proportion of adults with appropriate qualifications to meet employment needs.