Responding to the publication of the Industrial Strategy White Paper, Cllr John Fuller, Chairman of the District Councils’ Network said
The increased prominence of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) will allow strategic growth and local planning and housing authorities to work together on functional economic geographies to build the national economy one local economy at a time. We look forward to using our local leadership role in shaping place based local industrial strategies across England in partnership with the public and private sector. Many districts are already effectively collaborating with their LEP, cooperating over whole housing market areas and travel to work areas for plan making.
As the authorities responsible for housing, planning and economic development we understand what businesses need to thrive in our localities. The Minister for Local Growth stated this month that the role of district councils has never been more important in delivering growth across our country, and reinforced the need for them to be fully engaged with the industrial strategy. Districts are closest to local business and have a central role in stimulating local growth clusters across functional economic areas. The Industrial strategy allows LEPs, which are not always mapped to functional economic areas, to align their interests on the local economic geographies that residents and business recognise and relate to.
We welcome the bringing forward of reforms to LEPs, as certain responsibilities flow from the industrial strategy to LEPs it will be crucial that there is mandated district representation on all LEPs to ensure both democratic accountability and to harmonise priorities. Given the renewed focus on economic growth, planning and housing, we will be calling to ensure that there is district representation on each LEP to ensure an alignment of strategic priorities matched with the tools to deliver on the ground.
CONTACT: District Councils’ Network media office, 020 7664 3333