West of England LEP is top of the league

August 23, 2012

An in depth report by a team of Financial Times investment analysts and experts has compared all 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships and declared the West of England is the number one.

The Financial Times fDi Magazine tasked the team to assess the performance of the UK’s local enterprise partnerships since they replaced the regional development agencies. The results were mixed, with a general feeling that the LEPs still have a lot to learn.
They considered six main categories – economic potential, skills and education, cost effectiveness, quality of life, infrastructure and business friendliness.
Liverpool came in second, with Stoke-on-Trent third. Birmingham and Manchester trailed back in 11th and 15th respectively.
West of England LEP chairman, Colin Skellett said it was pleasing to receive national recognition.
He said: "It is good to have this national recognition of what has been achieved so far through the enthusiasm and hard work of many people from business, academia and the public sector.
"The economy of the West of England has held up well through the recession but there is much to do to restore growth and create jobs. We now need to turn the successful early work into strong delivery. I hope this report will encourage investors to set up and grow their businesses here."
LEP vice chairman, Councillor Nigel Ashton, leader of North Somerset Council added: “I am delighted with the news , as it confirms that the West of England Partnership has the potential and ability to deliver, with a first class team of business leaders and local authorities working together.”
One of the assessors, Douglas Clark, director of consultancy Location Connections, said: “Quite a few LEPs talk too much about their property and infrastructure development and not enough about the available skilled people that are critical for inward investors.
"Some give the impression that they view inward investment as if it is an automatic right for their area. I don’t think they realise how hard they need to work to attract it. Only a few LEPs clearly demonstrate how inward investment is integrated in to their overall strategy and how it can make a significant contribution to their area’s economic development.”

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