What Does the Industrial Strategy Mean for LEP Strategic Economic Plans?
Last week, the Government published its long awaited Green Paper on ‘Building our Industrial Strategy’. It underlines the UK’s need to improve productivity and its global position in key competitive sectors. The Green Paper also places a strong emphasis on the distribution of growth between the best and worst performing companies, industries and places.
The 38 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) across England already play an important role in many priorities addressed in the Industrial Strategy. They have already set out their Strategic Economic Plans, often backed up with substantial amounts of analysis on local sectors, skills challenges and places of opportunity. LEPs have also taken on responsibility for directing local European funding, co-ordinating business Growth Hubs and establishing Enterprise Zones.
This Green Paper will be of great interest to the LEPs. It is the first major indication of Government policy direction on growth and economic development under Theresa May, and provides an indication of the investment opportunities which may emerge. Although much of the strategy will be driven from the centre, there are hooks and opportunities for locally-led economic priorities to come forward.
Is there an Opportunity for Local Authorities and Partnerships to Take a Leading Role?
To help navigate through the national-local focus, Regeneris has charted which of the Industrial Strategy pillars will be most influenced locally (whether this be LEPs, local authorities, combined authorities or others), and which are more likely to be driven centrally, based on the content of the Green Paper.
We have also picked out some of the key policy and funding opportunities in the Green Paper (many of which are commitments from the 2016 Autumn Statement), which you can see by hovering over our rating for each pillar.
Our initial verdict is that economic development policy under Theresa May’s government is stronger on centralised delivery than it is on furthering the devolution agenda of David Cameron’s government. LEPs have the opportunity now though to respond to this green paper, and need to take this opportunity to set out why they are best placed to deliver actions under many of these pillars, and the role they want to have in this.
How Can LEPs Use the Green Paper to Produce a Successful Strategic Economic Plan?
So far, many LEPs and local authorities have been holding back on updating their Strategic Economic Plans (SEPs), in anticipation of the Industrial Strategy. To help LEPs with this process, we have mapped some of the key questions that should be asked as Strategic Economic Plans are updated.
The Regeneris team are experts in devising Economic Strategies and Action Plans. We have supported numerous LEPs with analysis, drafting and facilitated priority setting for their Strategic Economic Plans.
For more information on Regeneris Consulting’s work with LEPs, please contact Stuart Younger (London) or Simon Hooton (Manchester).