West of England authorities to drive economic growth

The Leaders of the four local authorities in the West of England have unanimously agreed to take the lead in driving economic growth and securing the local economic recovery.

Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol City, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire have written to the Secretaries of State for Local Government Eric Pickles, and Business, Vince Cable, to express their ‘in principle’ commitment to taking on new responsibilities, potentially in the form of one of the first ‘Local Enterprise Partnerships’ in the country.

This follows the coalition Government’s announcement about Regional Development Agencies, which they said should only remain where they are supported locally.

The letter, signed by the four Council Leaders and Stephen Harrison as Chair of the Skills & Competitiveness Board, stated:

“The West of England is the most economically competitive sub-region outside London and is a well-established partnership of four unitary councils, three Conservative and one Liberal Democrat, and their strategic partners. We believe we can make a significant contribution to the recovery through economic growth.”

Speaking on behalf of all four Council Leaders, Chair of the West of England Partnership, and South Gloucestershire Council Leader John Calway said:

“Our diverse, knowledge-based economy is well placed to support early economic recovery and our major business sectors of aerospace, advanced engineering, environmental technology and creative industries all have particularly high growth potential.

“This is an exciting opportunity for the West of England authorities and its partners, particularly in the business community, to strengthen the way we work together and build on an already impressive track record of attracting the investment that makes a real difference to our residents’ lives.”

“Challenges remain however in delivering the infrastructure that business and communities need in transport, housing and skills – and in tackling the issue of long-term worklessness in some of our urban areas.

“This announcement by the Partnership signals a continuation of our relentless and unwavering commitment to tackle these challenges head-on.”

Source: South Gloucestershire Council

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