Government gives go ahead for local enterprise partnerships

• Regional growth fund investment of £1.4bn also announced as government hopes to kickstart local economy

The government's attempt to kickstart the economy received its first major boost today with the announcement that the green light has been given for twenty-four local enterprise partnerships.

The proposals are part of the government's role in empowering locally driven growth, encouraging business investment and promoting economic development.

Ministers also declared the £1.4bn regional growth fund open for business.

This fund will support the creation of private sector jobs and will particularly support communities currently dependent on the public sector. Ministers hope it will help them make the transition to private sector led growth and prosperity.

The announcements form part of a white paper on local growth published today, which sets out the government's new approach to rebalance the economy and drive sustainable growth by focusing on three key themes:

• Shifting power to local communities and businesses - by establishing dynamic local enterprise partnerships of local business and civic leaders, operating within an area that makes economic sense, which can provide the vision, knowledge and strategic leadership to set local priorities and empower communities to fulfil their potential.

• Increasing confidence to invest – by creating the right conditions for growth through a consistent and efficient framework for investment, an effective planning framework and new incentives to make sure local communities benefit from development.

• Focused investment – by tackling barriers to growth that the market will not address itself and supporting investment that will have a long term impact on growth.

Business secretary Vince Cable said: "I was delighted that so many of the proposals for local enterprise partnerships showed real imagination and initiative and a genuine desire to drive local economic growth. I am pleased to announce that we are asking 24 of these partnerships to set up their boards and get to work.

"The knowledge and expertise of the private sector, local authorities and their local communities will be crucial as we work to create a better environment for business and ensure that everyone has access to the opportunities that growth brings."

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