Councillor Martin Watson (Portfolio Holder for Economy) noted that Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) were established in 2011 to create strategic partnerships between the private and public sectors to drive forward growth across identified functional economic geographies. Following a review of LEPs by Government, and as part of proposals contained within the Levelling Up White Paper, LEPs were being dissolved and the core functions and activities that they undertook were being transitioned into appropriate local democratic institutions – set out as either Combined Authorities or upper tier local authorities.
Coventry & Warwickshire LEP was identified as being on Pathway 3, meaning that a bespoke solution needed to be developed locally due to the complexity of the geography given that part of the LEP was within the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA). Functions and activities of the Coventry & Warwickshire LEP would therefore be transitioned into both the WMCA and Warwickshire County Council, and it was important therefore to develop arrangements that enabled a continued focus across the whole Coventry & Warwickshire geography.
Officers in both Councils had been working with the LEP, other partners and stakeholders to develop a locally appropriate transition plan as set out in the report.
Councillor John Holland noted that the dissolution of the LEPs had been mentioned in the Chancellor’s Spring Budget on 15 March 2023 and asked if this resulted in any changes to the report. Councillor Watson responded that there were no specific changes and the plans were robust and practical. A further report would be brought to Cabinet at a future date. Councillor Peter Butlin advised that the Spring Budget formalised the transfer of powers and a briefing note would be circulated to Members on the impact of Spring Budget.
1. Endorses the transition proposals and the approach to sub-regional economic development across Coventry and Warwickshire following the dissolution of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership as set out in paragraph 2.2 of the report.
2. Confirms the Council’s commitment to the continuation of the functions of the Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Hub and requests a future report on the proposals for doing so.