Marches Local Enterprise Partnership responds to mini-budget

September 23, 2022

Marches Local Enterprise Partnership chair Mandy Thorn MBE said today’s mini-budget – and the earlier announcement over help on commercial energy costs – offered some support to business during a very challenging period. 

But Mrs Thorn said the overall economic outlook remained tough and that the introduction of low tax Investment Zones would be ‘short-sighted’ if they were restricted to metropolitan areas. 

“I welcome the fact that the Government has laid out some clear economic policies, which has not always been the case in recent months. This will give business some much-needed clarity and allow plans to be put in place. 

“But if it is the Government’s intention to focus Investment Zones largely on conurbations, there is little doubt that rural areas such as the Marches will be harmed. This is short-sighted and something I would urge them to review immediately. 

“In our area, hospitality in particular has been badly hit by the pandemic, soaring cost of energy, recruitment issues and the cost-of-living crisis. Lots of otherwise successful businesses have found themselves in real trouble as a result and the Government needs to do all it can to help support them in the long term. 

“For an area with such a high percentage of small businesses, it is vital that they are given as much help as possible to weather the coming months. Many small businesses in the Marches are still reliant on oil for their heating and support for non-domestic users of oil would be helpful.  

“The time is long overdue for a meaningful reform of the business rates system, including reducing the level of the multiplier, and ensuring that VAT relief for the hospitality sector and non-essential retailers is extended for as long as it is needed. 

“Cuts in tax and Stamp Duty will undoubtedly put more money back in people’s pockets, but there must be strategic and sustained investment in local economies running alongside these measures. 

“Organisations such as the LEP can play a key role in building partnerships to ensure investment meets local demand – for infrastructure, commercial and residential property, skills and business support – and we would urge the Government to listen to voices such as ours to determine local priorities and make use of the business support eco-system already established and in place through LEPs.”

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The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership has now ceased trading and transferred all its functions to Shropshire Council working with Telford & Wrekin Council and Herefordshire Council, in line with the UK Government's plans for devolution.

The Marches LEP was established in 2011 and hands over an impressive legacy from its 13-year life. In that time the LEP invested over £196m in projects across the Marches, securing in excess of £100m of match funding and supported more than 66,000 business interactions.

The schemes supported have made tangible differences to local communities, increasing skills, creating jobs and improving the physical appearance of many towns.

We would like to thank all the LEP Board Members who have given their time freely over the life of the LEP, as well as all the staff who worked for the LEP over the years. We also want to thank our delivery partners, local education providers and local, regional and national stakeholders who helped us achieve so much.

The Marches Growth Hub will continue to support businesses and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford and Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Each of the three Local Authorities will also continue to provide direct business support locally. Details of this support will be available through the Marches Growth Hub website and from the Local Authorities directly. Website: | email:

The Marches Careers Hub will continue to be delivered and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford & Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Website: | email:

For any queries about Getting Building Fund (GBF), Local Growth Fund (LGF) and Marches Investment Fund (MIF) projects supported by the Marches LEP please contact:

For any finance queries please contact:

The solvent liquidation of the Marches LEP is being managed by the Evelyn Partners Limited. For any matter related to this please contact:

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