Business groups voice fears over government decision on LEPs
BUSINESS groups have expressed their joint concern that the Department for Communities and Local Government has awarded the British Chamber of Commerce sole responsibility for running a group bringing together Local Enterprise Partnerships.
The Federation of Small Businesses, Institute of Directors and the Forum of Private Business - which represent more than 250,000 businesses between them - are concerned that through awarding one organisation sole responsibility, wider business interests and concerns will not be taken into account.
Even more worrying for the organisations is that the government department responsible for LEPs has done this without putting the opportunity out to consultation or to tender.
FSB North Bucks branch chair Allan Banks said: “We are entirely supportive of the concept of a group which brings together Local Enterprise Partnerships. However, there is more than one business organisation on the ground, each representing different business sectors and with members working hard to make the LEPs a success by dedicating their time to develop them from grassroots level - something the government wanted.
“For LEPs to be truly effective, they need to represent those diverse business interests. By simply picking a single business organisation to run it in this way, with no consultation with the rest of the business community, risks isolating both those businesses which are not a member of any membership body and those who are members of the groups that have not been included from LEPs.”
IoD director-general Miles Templeman added: “We are surprised and disappointed that the government has appointed the British Chambers of Commerce to head this £300,000 quango with no consultation or discussion with other business groups.
"We question seriously the need to spend £300,000 of taxpayers’ money on a body whose purpose is to lobby national government on behalf of LEPs”