Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Local Enterprise Partnership?
Local enterprise partnerships are led by businesses working with local authorities and other partners. They have been charged with providing the vision, knowledge and strategic leadership needed to drive sustainable private sector growth and job creation in their area.
LEPs are a key vehicle in delivering Government objectives for economic growth and decentralisation, whilst also providing a means for local authorities to work together with business in order to quicken the economic recovery. By combining strong business leadership with groups of local authorities whose planning, regulatory and public realm roles are critical to growth, LEPs will bring an integrated approach across real economic geographies. This will be a major step forward in fostering a strong environment for business growth.
What does the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership propose to do?
The LEP will build on the particular strengths and opportunities of the area, creating the right conditions for substantial business growth and increased enterprise to emerge quickly from the recent economic downturn.
Through leadership, through the Business Boards and intense business engagement with our many local business networks, the LEP's programme of work will be ambitious and innovatively driven by a dynamic collaboration between the private and public sectors.
It will lend support to the area’s strategic businesses to ensure that their voices are heard and their growth potential is not unduly inhibited by bureaucracy; deliver advice and support for new and existing businesses, and positively promote self employment and enterprise.
The LEP proposes to support the creation of employment opportunities by improving the infrastructure and conditions for business success; develop the strength and vibrancy of our growing visitor and land based economy, in order to maximise the economic value of our natural and cultural assets; and influence providers of skills and training to improve the employability of the local workforce and encourage the increased retention of graduate-level employees in the area.
As part of its vision, the Marches LEP also aims to ensure that strategic and local planning is responsive to local communities' aspirations including thriving businesses, jobs and enterprise; address urban transport issues and rural connectivity, focusing on sustainable and affordable solutions while promoting a modern, low carbon economy for the 21st century.
And the LEP does not propose to do all this in isolation. There are significant economic dependencies and linkages to neighbouring areas so it will positively engage in cross boundary working with neighbouring Local Enterprise Partnerships on issues of common interest for the benefit of both the Marches, and the regions which surround it.
What's happened to date?
The LEP appointed its chairman, Dr Geoffrey Davies OBE DL, in January 2011 and a LEP Board of leading business figures, local authority representatives and co-opted business champions was formed.
The Marches LEP officially launched its prospectus in June 2011 at the House of Commons, attended by the area's Members of Parliament, senior civil servants, LEP partners and stakeholders, representatives of UK Trade and Industry, leading members of the business community and Business Minister Mark Prisk MP.
In its first year, the Marches LEP has also secured a £1.5 million boost from the Regional Growth Fund to help bring redundant buildings back into use.
In August 2011, the Marches was named as one of ten new Enterprise Zones across the UK. The Hereford-based Enterprise Zone could create more than 6,500 jobs for the area on a 164-acre site earmarked for development. The EZ will be focused on the Rotherwas Business Park but it is expected that the benefits of having EZ status will spread across the region into Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin. The EZ, with its defence and security industry focus, is expected to generate private sector investment of more than £90m over the life of the project.
The Marches Redundant Building Grants Programme is a £5.1 million project which has won backing as one of 119 successful bids to the Government's Regional Growth Fund. The project will see small businesses and start-ups given financial assistance to bring unused buildings back to productive economic use. It is expected that this scheme could create around 330 direct jobs as well as 165 indirect jobs, supporting more than 50 businesses. The new scheme runs until March 2014.