George Osborne confirmed the government’s commitment to create a single local growth fund in response to the Heseltine review.
Lord Heseltine’s report “No stone unturned” suggested a single fund for Local Enterprise Partnerships, saying it would have been worth £49billion over the most recent spending round.
The fund will be operational by April 2015. Funding will be allocated to Local Enterprise Partnerships on the basis of multi-year strategic plans.
The ACE said industry will await detail on how it will be established and the level of the new pot, but said it is “an important stepping stone towards giving LEPs clout to drive growth according to local priorities”.
Dr Nelson Ogunshakin OBE, chief executive of ACE, said: “Until now the finance available for the LEPs has been restricted and this has hindered their progress in generating growth locally.
“Industry, which has been keen to engage, will be pleased to hear that government is investing, but given the scale envisaged by Michael Heseltine’s ‘no stone unturned’ report, this announcement must serve only as a stepping stone towards greater detail on the government ambitions for the LEPs.”
The government response confirmed that of Lord Heseltine’s 89 recommendations, 81 have been accepted either in full or in part, five have been rejected and three will be considered as part of the spending round later this year.