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Tory incompetence may cost West Lancs millions

11.01.10 | 2 Comments

There’s no way to put this other than bluntly.

The Tories at Lancashire County Council have failed the people of Lancashire by not getting a Local Enterprise Partnership set up (see Appendix A of the new White Paper, and the glaring hole where Lancashire is). 

The Regional Growth Fund (RGF) of £1.4bn is now open for business, but the likelihood of successful bids coming from the Lancashire area is massively reduced by the fact that the County and their Borough ‘partners’ were unable to agreement on boundaries for the Partnership.

The government is quite clear in its guidance on the fund:

In particular it is expected that Local Enterprise Partnerships will play a role in coordinating across areas and communities, and in bidding for the Fund.

While all areas of England are eligible to bid for the RGF some parts of the country, particularly where there is currently high employment low-levels of deprivation and a vibrant private sector, may struggle to demonstrate how they meet the second objective of the fund.

That is, the chance of successful Lancashire bids from private sector or social enterprise organisation is lessened by the the Tories’ inability to set up what people all over the country have done.  This bidding round clsoes in late January, and we may still not have a LEP by then

Currently, there are three proposals on the government’s table – one for all Lancashire, one for just Fylde/Wyre boroughs and one for the East Lancs area.  Looking at what has been approved, it’s perfectly clear that a whole Lancashire partnership would have been given the green light, but the County Council are obviously so distrusted by the borough councils in their area that they have preferred to go off on their own.

In West Lancashire, the local Tories have simply washed their hands of the whole sorry mess, accepting that whatever’s imposed is what they’ll get, whenever they get it, and they have failed totally to engage with either businesses of the voluntary sector over what should happen, even refusing Labour’s proposal at Full Council that they should consult with the Local Strategic Partnership.


And an incompetence that is set to cost us millions in investment.


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