Heseltine unveils Birmingham pilot scheme for growth

Heseltine unveils Birmingham pilot scheme for growth

Lord Heseltine has announced he will be working with the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to find ways to implement the suggestions outlined in his report “No Stone Unturned in Pursuit of Growth”.

Ahead of a £49bn national initiative to implement the Conservative peer’s suggestions to improve the British economy, the LEP will review the Greater Birmingham Project over a three month period.

In his report, Lord Heseltine said the LEPs must take charge of their local economies to enable growth on a national scale, and these proposals will be piloted in the West Midlands city.

With Birmingham and Solihull LEPs approval, the changes could potentially be rolled out across the country.

Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council, commented: “I welcomed the overarching conclusions of Lord Heseltine’s report when it was published and I am now hugely encouraged by the launch of this project.

“In supporting it the Government is making available its own resources.  That represents clear recognition of the importance of Birmingham and the city region, and a sign that the localist approach is backed at the highest level in Westminster.

“Lord Heseltine’s report has received cross-party support and I believe we now have a unique opportunity to put in place a leading role for the cities and the city regions in driving economic growth and investment.

“As well as working with Lord Heseltine’s team over the next few months, we are fully committed to working closely with all our neighbours across the city region to grasp the opportunities now on offer.”

Lord Heseltine’s proposals were greeted with mixed reviews when they were revealed in October 2012, with some critics saying that SMEs benefit more from better access to finance or national insurance holidays.

Others, such as the Institute of Economic Development and CBI, welcomed the measures as a breath of fresh air which would allow for greater support to the private sector and accelerate growth.

Sir Albert concluded: “If cities are given the freedoms and powers to flourish, I am sure they will. In such challenging times we need the catalyst that will unlock the investment and enterprise we are crying out for to enable economic and social growth.”

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