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Wiltshire joins local enterprise partnership

July 22, 2011 5:33 PM

Businesses in Swindon and Wiltshire will be supported by a new local enterprise partnership approved today by Business Minister Mark Prisk and Decentralisation Minister Greg Clark.

The Swindon and Wiltshire local enterprise partnership covers a population of around 650,000 and represents over 26,000 businesses. It has the support of both local authorities in the area and joins the 36 partnerships announced since the Government's Local Growth White Paper was published in October last year.

The priority of the private sector-led partnership is to promote growth and create jobs in the area. To achieve this, the Swindon and Wiltshire partnership plans to help create 10,000 new jobs and safeguard a further 8,000 by 2015. Its priorities include increasing the coverage of super-fast broad band, regenerating and improving connectivity between the main population areas, supporting the tourism industry and helping to realise the potential of the growth sectors like advanced manufacturing and engineering, information technology and logistics.

Mark Prisk said:

"I'm delighted that we are able to approve a proposal for a Swindon and Wiltshire partnership that had the best interests of the area at its heart.

"Local enterprise partnerships are making excellent progress in bringing together their plans for local growth, and I hope to see this partnership working quickly to identify the needs of the area it will serve.

"Local enterprise partnerships have an important role to play in identifying each area's potential for growth and I want all local communities to benefit from the knowledge and expertise of the private sector and the opportunities that growth brings."

Decentralisation Minister Greg Clark said:

"We can see from the Swindon and Wiltshire local enterprise partnership the strength of the area's local ambition, leadership and ideas. It is clear local councils, businesses and civic leaders are ready to exploit Swindon and Wiltshire's potential for growth and create new jobs.

A new network for local enterprise partnerships is now operating following Ministers' announcement in April that the British Chambers of Commerce would establish a network to share best practice across the LEP community.

Local enterprise partnerships bring together local business and civic leaders, working to support their local economy. They operate within a geography that reflects natural economic areas and provide the vision, knowledge and strategic leadership needed to drive sustainable private sector growth and job creation in their area.

They will be able to consider a diverse range of roles, reflecting differing local priorities, including:

- working with Government to set out key investment priorities, including transport infrastructure;

- coordinating proposals or bidding directly for the Regional Growth Fund;

- supporting high growth businesses, for example through involvement in bids to run the new growth hubs;

- participation in the development of national planning policy and ensuring business is involved in the consideration of strategic planning applications;

- lead changes in how businesses are regulated locally;

- strategic housing delivery, including pooling and aligning funding streams;

- working with local employers, Jobcentre Plus and learning providers to help local workless people into jobs;

- coordinating approaches to leverage funding from the private sector;

- exploring opportunities for developing incentives on renewable energy projects and Green Deal;

- involvement in the delivery of other national priorities such as digital infrastructure