CHANCELLOR George Osborne will today reveal details of a plan to give the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) greater powers and access to a funding pot worth billions of pounds.
This week the Government announced all of the changes recommended by Tory peer Lord Heseltine in his report No Stone Unturned, published last year, would be taken up.
In the report, the former Minister for Merseyside had called for the Government to slash red tape and hand back decision-making powers to Britain’s major cities giving them greater say over matters including transport, housing, and vocational training.
The Government is accepting 81 of Lord Heseltine’s 89 recommendations in part or in full.
The recommendations directly benefit England’s 39 business-led LEPs, delivering them an immediate funding boost worth £500,000 over the next two years to be spent on drafting plans on how best to create economic growth.
And in his Budget today, Mr Osborne will outline plans for a multi-billion pound funding pot for LEPs to be made available from 2015.
That money will come from capital cash currently allocated to departmental budgets and European Union funding, although the exact amount will not be known until 2014.
Lord Heseltine has recommended a pot worth £12.25bn a year although the actual amount is more likely to be in the “lowish billions”.
In return for access to the cash the LEPs will be expected to lay out detailed plans on how they will use the money to generate jobs and growth.
Liverpool City Region LEP chair Robert Hough says that people on the ground locally are best-placed to decide where the money can be spent to provide the greatest economic benefit.
“LEPs are at the sharp end of the Government’s vision for growth based on local decision-making, local allocation of resources and, last but by no means least, local knowledge,” he said/
“Nobody knows and understands a local economy better than the businesses and entrepreneurs who make it work through investment leading to the creation of jobs and wealth.”
Mr Osborne will stand up in the House of Commons to make his Budget speech at 12.30pm.