Lord Heseltine and Lord Shipley have been appointed to support negotiations for Local Growth Deals with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).
Allowing LEPs to influence the flow of government resources, Growth Deals assist the regional bodies to obtain a share of the £2bn Local Growth Fund for their own growth priorities.
In turn, all 39 of England’s LEPs are expected to demonstrate long-term commitment to the growth agenda.
In their new roles, Heseltine and Shipley will advise ministers on the proposals bought forward by LEPs, while challenging the groups to produce their best work.
Making the appointments alongside minister for cities Greg Clark, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg described the move as ‘another step forward in handing more power from Whitehall to local people’.
Heseltine and Shipley are already working as chair and vice-chair for the Regional Growth Fund Advisory panel.
Building on the progress of the City Deals, Local Growth Deals follow recommendations from Heseltine’s No Stone Unturned report on delivering the potential of local economies.
Heseltine said: ‘The best model to provide sustainable growth is to create a balanced partnership between the Government, business and local leaders.
‘There has already been significant progress, but Local Growth Deals will be absolutely key to unleashing the creativity and energy in every part of the country. Local people know what will unleash growth in their areas and I look forward to challenging and supporting them in articulating this.’
Shipley said: ‘Following on from the success of the City Deals, I am delighted to be involved in the next exciting chapter of the government’s decentralisation agenda.’
What do City Deals mean for the councils involved? Tudor Evans, leader of Plymouth City Council, writes for The MJ here.