First published in the Worcester News, 15 August 2014
At the recent business briefing that we hosted at Sixways, we were keen to emphasise that we – like all the other 38 LEPs in England – are now entering a new and different phase in our relatively short life.
Following the Local Growth Deal that emerged from the Strategic Economic Plan, we are increasingly being expected by Government to become a delivery agent.
An indicative sum of £47million over the next five years, including £13 million available for 2015/6, has been confirmed to be coming our way from the Growth Deal. It is absolutely imperative that we deliver the identified projects on time or risk having funding curtailed in future years.
Much planning is in hand and very specific project plans and programmes are being prepared to ensure delivery. We have received considerable support from Government and we will ensure that Worcestershire steps up to the mark.
Such responsibility will require even stronger executive support however, and we will be recruiting additional staff to meet these needs.
At the same time we are in the process of refreshing both the LEP Board and the Business Board, as well as strengthening our key strategic sub groups and sector committees.
It is most gratifying to be chairing a LEP where the enthusiasm and support from all public, business and third sector partners is consistent, co-ordinated and positive. I am led to believe that this isn’t necessarily the case for all other LEPs so I am extremely grateful for all their support.