GBSLEP Blog – Sir Albert Bore (March 2013)
Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council.
The ongoing campaign by local business and political leaders to secure a greater say in the power and resources available to us to drive economic growth reached an important milestone last week.
In his budget, the chancellor agreed to 81 of the 89 recommendations made by Lord Heseltine in his report ‘No Stone Unturned’.
This followed days after the publication of the GBSLEP’s own report, developed with Lord Heseltine, titled ‘The Greater Birmingham Project: The Path to Local Growth’.
This report was produced following a huge amount of work by LEP partners. Our intention was to present a compelling case to government for the creation of a ‘single pot’ of funding to be made available to LEPs to support activity to drive economic growth.
The project has been a cross-party effort and the partnership we have forged with business leaders has been vital to our success.
But the question now is: what comes next?
It is important that the energy and determination that we have shown in getting to this position now continues.
In June, the chancellor will address in the Spending Round the content of the ‘single pot’, or Single Local Growth Fund, as it will be known.
Our first campaign must be to influence the scale of the pot that is made available by government.
To do this, we should all join together to lobby ministers on the benefits of having a substantial amount of funding devolved to local areas, such as accelerating the pace we can deliver on projects.
We will also publish the evidence-base that underpins the Greater Birmingham Project report, including all of the input from each of the workstreams set up to examine ‘No Stone Unturned’.
This will be critical to informing our bid to the Single Local Growth Fund.
Clearly, this work is going to involve another major effort by stakeholders across the LEP as we gather further evidence and begin the process of prioritising which projects will deliver the greatest economic growth in our areas.
By the time of the Spending Round, we will have both a clearer idea about the level of ambition we can show and considered the need to further strengthen the LEP’s governance structure to manage a significant pot.
We stand at a crucial point in this long-running campaign to restore to our cities their former role in driving economic growth.
Lord Heseltine has received strong cross-party support for his proposals and he has successfully persuaded key government figures of the strength of the case for change.
Now it is time for us follow through on that hard work and secure the permanent and radical changes we all acknowledge that we need.