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Government unveils new plans to boost local economic growth


Plans to create 24 local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) have been given the go-ahead by the Government.


The proposals will see local authorities and businesses working together to stimulate local private-sector growth, with Greater Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool amongst the first cities to launch the scheme.


The announcement forms part of a White Paper, which sets out the Government’s new approach to rebalance the economy and drive sustainable growth.


Business Secretary Vince Cable said he was ‘delighted’ that so many LEPs bids displayed ‘real imagination and initiative’.


These bodies can now bid for funding from a £1.4 billion regional growth fund.


The Forum of Private Business (FPB) has welcomed the move, although it has called on the Government to focus on other areas of economic need.


‘We welcome the fact that LEPs have been agreed upon for the main city regions and economic powerhouses. However, we now look forward to the focus being placed on other areas of economic need with advice from the Government to those who need to re-bid,’ said the FPB’s Chief Executive, Phil Orford.


He added: ‘We also believe that the £1.4 billion growth fund should be focused on the areas of greatest need and that innovative and transformational private sector bids for funding should be welcomed and encouraged.’


The White Paper also sets out how the Government intends to manage the winding down of the regional development agencies by April 2012, and confirms plans to replace the Business Link advice network with a website and call centre.