North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire Councils have strengthened their historic ties across Lincolnshire by committing to sole membership of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership following a review of LEP boundaries.
The Greater Lincolnshire LEP will continue in its current form and will also include Rutland County Council (as announced last week).
In 2018 the Government asked all LEPs in England to consider their geographical boundaries and to remove geographical overlaps with other LEPs to ensure clear local business leadership and effectiveness.
Until now the Greater Lincolnshire LEP and the Humber LEP have overlapped, and North and North East Lincolnshire have been members of both LEPs.
The Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP, Pat Doody, said: “We are very pleased that North Lincolnshire Council and North East Lincolnshire Council have clearly indicated their intention to become full members of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP.
“The proposed LEP reorganisation will remove ambiguity for businesses, education and the third sector about which LEP to work with. However, real and tangible collaboration will be needed between the two LEPs to ensure that ambitions of the Humber estuary and the wider area continue to be realised regionally and nationally in areas such as freeports and decarbonisation.
“We look forward to working even more closely with our partners on both sides of the Humber to establish a model for the future which will allow us to realise the full economic potential of the Humber.”
Councillor Philip Jackson, Leader of North East Lincolnshire Council, said the authority was focused on further developing ties to Greater Lincolnshire.
“That includes being a key partner in the Greater Lincolnshire LEP, as well as working towards a combined authority in Greater Lincolnshire to create future prosperity for the area,” he explained.
“However, it’s vital that we also maintain and enhance economic collaboration around the Humber in key strategic business sectors like renewable energy, ports and logistics and chemicals.
“Over a number of years our position has been pragmatic – about trying to ensure the best for the people of this area – and indeed several years ago we supported the original idea for a Greater Lincolnshire body because we thought it was the best for our area.
“We’ve continued to develop relationships with our colleagues there, as well as collaborating in the Humber region and beyond, all with the intention of ensuring we get the best of any deals for our residents. That has resulted in exciting initiatives such as the Town Deal, which is bringing millions of pounds of investment into the borough.
“That approach will remain the case in moving forward with any proposals, which would have to be fully considered by both the Council’s Cabinet and Full Council.”
Councillor Rob Waltham MBE, Leader of North Lincolnshire Council, said: “We are looking forward to working even more closely than we already do with our partners across Lincolnshire to build on the many successful projects and developments.
“Of course, we will continue to work closely with partners across the Humber where it makes sense to do so.
“We have seen huge investments of Government cash in North Lincolnshire through the Greater Lincolnshire LEP and will continue do so in relation to infrastructure, skills and education and business support.
“As we move through 2020 and emerge post-Covid-19 we will be stronger together as we take advantage of the business and jobs opportunities that will come.
“At the heart of that will be how we continue to deliver against the economic growth plan for North Lincolnshire, further improving connectivity and supporting businesses to grow so they can create jobs and drive even greater prosperity for the people here.
“We can better keep people safe and well, our communities will flourish and we can support the local economy to grow through closer and stronger bonds with our partners across our county.”
Councillor Martin Hill, Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, said: “This is a significant step in helping to get Greater Lincolnshire and our major contribution to the country’s economy recognised at a national level.
“At the end of last year, Lincolnshire County Council, North and North East Lincolnshire Councils agreed to work together more closely and collaborate wherever we can. This latest development reinforces our commitment to do the best for our residents and businesses and work innovatively.
“I look forward to our LEP achieving even more with a stronger, clearer voice for our area.”
Local Enterprise Partnerships were created in England in 2010 to drive local economic growth. The Greater Lincolnshire LEP is led by influential private and public sector leaders, acting as champions for the area’s economic challenges and successes.
There are 38 LEPs across England which work with central Government and the private sector to invest in infrastructure, skills, innovation and productivity.
There will now be a short transition period agreed between the two LEPs to ensure a smooth transition for the future.