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We must work closely with LEP, says city council leader
THE leader of Worcester City Council says it is vital to forge ever closer links with Worcestershire’s main business body - amid belief its importance is growing at a phenomenal rate.
Local Enterprise Partnerships are growing in power and influence, and between now and 2021 have been allocated £20 billion of funding.
To add to that strength, the EU wants to give the partnerships responsibility for deciding how £5.3 billion of European cash is spent.
Amid a backdrop of tough public sector spending cuts, the city council’s Labour leadership now says it wants to link in with Worcestershire’s Local Enterprise Partnership to ensure Worcester benefits.
The council wants to make sure an emerging blueprint for how some cash will be spent, known as the Strategic Economic Plan, will include plans for the Faithful City.
The plan will be used to bid for an initial pot of £2 billion of Government funding available for major projects.
The Government says only Local Enterprise Partnerships with clear ideas of where they want to go - with proposals backed by bodies like councils - will stand the best chance of being the big winners.
Councillor Adrian Gregson, the leader, said: “The importance of Worcestershire’s LEP is becoming clearer and clearer every day.
“There are great opportunities to work closely together and for the city council, it is vital we do that.”
Councillor Geoff Williams, deputy leader and the cabinet member responsible for economic regeneration, said: “To draw the maximum opportunities we can from this funding we need to support the LEP and demonstrate a really compelling case for it.
“Competition for this funding will be fierce so we need to make sure we deliver.”
The city council’s cabinet has voted in favour of a new report suggesting Worcester must become a “strong focus” for the enterprise partnership’s future plans.
It also insists all the “major ambitions for Worcester city centre” must be included, as well as details on how they can become a reality.
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