Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham today called on the Conservative-led Government to give Tees Valley Unlimited, the Tees Valley’s new Local Enterprise Partnership, real teeth and powers to drive forward the local economic recovery and create much needed jobs for the area.
Alex warned that the Government’s current plans are holding back opportunities to support local businesses and promote growth, following the gap left by the scrapping of the region’s Regional Development Agency, One North East. Labour is warning that if LEPs do not have the powers or resources they need, there is a danger that businesses will not engage with them, creating greater uncertainty.
Labour’s proposals would give LEPs a range of powers over skills in the area as well as access to European funding. It would also give them a first say over the assets of the RDAs which are being scrapped. Giving LEPs this say would give them important levers of growth and development, with their value retained locally, rather than being lost through a Government ‘fire sale’. It means that Tees Valley Unlimited would have a key role in deciding the future of the Tees Valley. Alex said:
“The Government says it wants LEPs to support local business and growth but LEPs currently have one hand tied behind their backs.
“As the recent growth figures show, the recovery has ground to a halt. We need urgency and action, not complacency. The Government, more than ever, should be trying do all it can to create strong local organisations which have the confidence of business to create private sector growth and economic development.
“But we know that this Conservative-led government has no plan for growth. That’s why Labour is proposing practical measures to ensure that Tees Valley Unlimited is given the powers and resources it needs to drive forward local growth and create sustainable jobs. We also must not lose important assets sold off in a quick Government fire sale, rather than have the opportunity to see how they can be used most effectively for jobs, growth and economic development.”
“The Government must trust and support local areas, not hold them back.”