Ahead of the coalition government’s release of a White Paper on plans to establish new local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) to drive economic development, chancellor George Osborne told fDi Magazine why he thought LEPs would be more effective than the regional development agencies they are replacing.
 “I think the local enterprise partnerships will be much more responsive and effective,” he told fDi during an exclusive interview at the IMF-World Bank annual meetings in Washington, DC. 
Asked whether the new system might leave the UK investment promotion landscape fragmented into too many disparate pieces, the chancellor insisted that would not be the case.
 “I’m an MP in the northwest of England and if you have an LEP for the whole of greater Manchester or the whole of Merseyside, they are going to be pretty powerful and focused bodies,” he said.
 “[The new system] will be better than what we had, for example, in the northwest, which was a body that covers the whole of the region from near the Scottish border to a couple hundred miles south. The LEPS will be better and more effective.”
The White Paper stated that 24 LEP proposals have been given the go-ahead. The government also announced a £1.4bn Regional Growth Fund to “support communities currently dependent on the public sector, helping them make the transition to private sector led growth and prosperity”.
 The full interview feature will be published in the December/January 2011 issue of fDi Magazine.