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The Annual LEP Conference held at the Royal Mint in London last week, attracted nearly 200 participants from both the Network and from across government.
To have 3 Secretaries of State and a Minister of State addressing the network and a cross-government panel of senior civil servants answering detailed questions, highlights the very real focus and attention that the Government is giving to ensuring that the LEPs successfully deliver the economic development agenda across England.
We also heard from 5 LEP Chairs on the early development of their individual Partnerships, some of the challenges and some wins. Common themes emerged during the day, not least for an element of core funding in the order of £250k pa to ensure that each LEP can employ 2/3 dedicated staff.
It was also clear that the Boards understand that they have to make an early impact on the employability agenda if local economies are going to grasp available development opportunities.
Other breakout sessions discussed economic development and planning.
I sensed the enormous enthusiasm from the participants, but a strong message to Government that if they want the economic growth across England that is so desperately required then they need to give LEPs the powers and some funding. This will not be delivered on a shoestring.