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Ministers call for London LEP bids

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Ministers have invited the Mayor of London and London’s borough councils to work together in developing a series of new local economic development partnerships for the capital.

In a letter to Boris Johnson and the leaders of London’s borough councils, obtained by LGC(see right), business secretary Vince Cable and communities secretary Eric Pickles have invited London councils and the mayor to come forward with proposal to form new Local Enterprise partnerships within the capital.

The letter, dated 8 October, said ministers would expect boroughs, business leaders and the Mayor to “work together” on any London LEP proposals and the bids would need to be “clear on the added value that any new sub-regional arrangements will bring”.

The initial 29 June letter to councils and businesses across England that called for the submission of LEP proposals had stated that “separate arrangements” would apply in London. But as first revealed in LGC, four bids from London were still submitted by the 6 September deadline. These covered parts of the east, west, north and south of the capital.

However, minister put these early proposals on ice while they consulted with the mayor of London about how a LEP would work in the capital, as many of the functions and powers that LEPs across the country have bid for, such as employment and skills funding, are already within the remit of the mayor’s office.

The letter to the mayor and London councils now says that because London already “approximates well to the definition of a functional urban area” London LEP proposals should “establish clearly both what the issues are that any LEP is aimed at tackling, and what the rationale and evidence are for the boundaries chosen for the LEP within the broader framework of London as a single functional area”.

It added: “Proposals should also explain why the LEP would be better equipped to address the issues than existing structures and institutions in London and how the creation of a LEP will lead to a simplification rather than duplication of existing arrangements.”

It added that proposals should cover “real functional economic area and travel to work areas”, which could also involve London boroughs working across borders with councils outside of Greater London.

It added that although the private sector economy is stronger in the capital than in many other parts of the country any London LEP bid “should continue to have strengthening the private sector as a key theme”.

The letter called for expressions of interest in forming a London LEP to be submitted by 5 November.

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