West London Business have initiated discussions about a West London Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
LEPs are a flaship Coalition Government policy, and are intended to replace the regional tier of management in regeneration and economic development – Regional Development Agencies (RDAs). CLG Secretary Eric Pickles wrote to all local authorities, including those in London, inviting them to collaborate to form LEPs, during the summer. There was a September 6 deadline for this which was later relaxed fr London groups.
There remains uncertainty surrounding the exact shape and remit of the LEPs, and their funding support. But it is certain that they are intended to involve both the public and private sector. The uncertainty is in part deliberate, inkeeping with the “localist” flavour of the Coalition administration, LEPs are supposed to define their own geographies, roles and responsibilities.
Frank Wingate, WLB’s CEO says: “we would certainly like to see some strategic leadership group emerge in West London, to continue the work of the successful West London Partnership – itself a model of sub-regional private/public collaboration. WLB is initiating discussions with both public and private sector potential partners.”
He also says there are two principles vital for West London. One is that the economic power and integrity of West London is recognised and promoted. The other is that the private sector plays a major policy-shaping role. “These two principles will guide our involvement in LEPs in the coming months”, he says.
A West London LEP could have significant powers, and would certainly affect regeneration and economic development activity in the sub-region, and as such the debate around it’s possible formation is important.
You can take part in that debate by joining in with Place West London, where there will be a special debating session “A LEP for West London”. See the full programme here, or book nowto take part in the debate.