Lord Inglewood reacts as Gove reveals plans to cut local business partnerships


Business leaders could have less say in the economic development of the regions, their powers being entrusted to elected politicians, if the secretary of the communities wants it.

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Upgrades, Housing and Communities, spoke at an England County Council Leaders’ Conference this week, expressing his intention to cut corporate partnerships local.

The move would be part of an upgrade white paper to be released later this year. The decisions of the Secretary of State, including the reorganization of the local government of Cumbria, all with decentralization in mind.

Decentralization is the transfer of more power to locally elected leaders.

In a speech at the county council network conference, Mr Gove said he would prefer economic development to be in the hands of elected leaders: “My preference is that powers, including development powers economic, are best exercised alongside other powers that remain in the hands of responsible, democratically elected leaders.

Allerdale Borough Council Chief Mike Johnson, who is on the Cumbria LEP Board of Directors, said: would LEP. ”

Cllr Johnson said: “Have LEPs had their day? Have they achieved their goal and laid the foundations?

Lord [Richard] Inglewood, President of Cumbria LEP, said: “The point is, if you have a business, they know more about business than ordinary politicians in general.

Plans to remove the role of local business partnerships in local politics would mean that their responsibility to look after the best interests of the business community would fall on elected leaders.

But Lord Inglewood said: “There is a better chance that it will work well if we have business people involved in the process. You have to balance the democratic aspects with the technical aspects.”

Cumbria LEP is now giving business a voice, often urging the UK government to keep its promises and speaking out when it feels it is not doing enough.

Lord Inglewood said: “We just happen to be under-resourced compared to any other public sector organization. Certainly sometimes we think the government is not doing the right thing for Cumbria, we wouldn’t just sit there and would do nothing. ”

Cumbria LEP remains politically neutral and has taken no position on local government reform.

But Lord Inglewood said: “If we in Cumbria are to get the best for the county, we have to all work together.”

Copeland Mayor Mike Starkie backed Mr Gove’s plan to cut local business partnerships.

He said: “I am not a LEP supporter. I think it should be removed as part of local government reform. LEPs would be at the top of my list.

“I have long believed that unnecessary bureaucracy hinders progress.

“My point is that a LEP should support the business and be a catalyst, but in my experience they can make things more difficult.”


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