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Business groups blast LEP plans

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In an infrequent display of camaraderie, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Forum of Private Business and the Institute of Directors have joined forces to attack the government’s decision to hand control of local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) to the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC).

Although some may see this as jealousy, others will share the business groups’ concerns that the BCC will have sole responsibility of LEPs.

Miles Templeman, director-general of the Institute of Directors, said he was “surprised and disappointed” at the government’s decision, which was made with no consultation or discussion with other business groups.

The Federation of Small Businesses’ national chairman John Walker, added: “For LEPs to be truly effective they need to represent those diverse business interests. Simply picking a single business organisation to run it in this way risks isolating both those businesses which are not a member of any membership body and those who are members of the groups that haven’t been included from LEPs.” 

The decision to hand responsibility for LEPs was made by the department for communities and local government, without giving any business groups the right to tender.

“To discover that government has been holding unilateral discussions with one business organisation to provide a national networking and coordination body for LEPs without competitive tender, is frankly surprising and disappointing, and will raise questions about the localism agenda and public procurement policy,” added Phil Orford, chief executive of the Forum of Private Business.

What do you think of the government’s decision? Do you care about it who is responsible for LEPs? Will it matter? Leave your views below.

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