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Cumbria LEP welcomes commitment to LEPs in Levelling Up White Paper

Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP) has welcomed today’s publication of the Government’s Levelling Up White Paper.

The Government says the document sets out a plan to transform the UK by spreading opportunity and prosperity to all parts and proposes a complete ‘system change’ of how Government works, which will be implemented to level up the UK.

The strategy, unveiled by Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove, will take until 2030 to implement and aims to improve services such as education, broadband and transport.

CLEP Chair Lord Inglewood said: “The White Paper marks a significant moment for LEPs across England as it formally embeds them in the policy agenda. It is a clear affirmation of the role LEPs have played in regional economic growth and builds on recent achievements.

“I am delighted that all the hard work that we have carried out in Cumbria in sustaining and increasing local economic growth through the pandemic and supporting businesses, reflected I’m sure by other LEPs elsewhere, has been recognised by Government.

“We look forward to continuing to deliver on behalf of our communities and I’m sure we will welcome the opportunity to adapt and evolve in line with emerging requirements as the Levelling Up agenda progresses.”

CLEP Chief Executive Jo Lappin added: “CLEP welcomes the publication of the long awaited Levelling Up White Paper and the commitment that this has made to LEPs. Whilst I am keen to see further detail in a number of areas it is good to see the general direction of travel and recognition of issues faced by areas, such as ours.

“I’m particularly encouraged by Government’s reinforced commitment to LEPs outside Mayoral Combined Authority areas. Clearly, this gives us the mandate to continue the work needed to help Cumbria’s economic recovery and return to growth.

“We look forward to continuing to give all necessary support to all of our businesses and sectors, helping them to deliver their growth plans and to continue our efforts to secure major investment into the county.

“Our expectation is that we will continue to have the strategic economic lead for Cumbria, the responsibility for advocating on behalf of all of our businesses and sectors, delivering our existing responsibilities and will be focusing all of energy on the issues that matter to business.”

Mr Gove's plans would bring all existing initiatives together into 12 "national missions" and set up a system for measuring progress.

Among those central missions are plans to: close the gap between the UK’s highest and lowest performing cities; improve educational attainment among children leaving primary school; narrow the gap in healthy life expectancy between the best and worst performing areas of the UK; and close gaps in transport and connectivity.

Government says these missions will drive real change by spreading opportunity and prosperity and reverse the postcode lottery of life chances in the UK.

Amongst the UK-wide policies the UK Government outlined are:

  • A 40% increase in domestic public investment in R&D outside the Greater South East of England by 2030. The Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have committed to invest at least 55% of their domestic R&D funding outside the Greater South East by 2024/5;
  • Decentralisation of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to local areas in Scotland and Wales;
  • Nationwide gigabit-capable broadband and 4G coverage across the UK and 5G coverage for most of the population.

By 2030, Government says other missions will see:

  • the rest of the country’s local public transport systems becoming much closer to London standards;
  • the large majority of the country gain access to 5G broadband;
  • illiteracy and innumeracy in primary school leavers effectively eliminated - focussing the government’s education efforts on the most disadvantaged parts of the country.

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