Private sector voice ‘vital to success’ of devolution says LEP chair

Posted 17th September 2015
4 minutes read
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The Chair of the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, Robert Hough, has said that any devolution deal for the City Region must include input from the private sector if it is to deliver the desired growth and prosperity.

In front of a packed audience of the City Region’s business leaders, Hough highlighted the opportunities devolution can bring to the City Region to deliver a more prosperous and sustainable future for businesses and residents.

Hough went on to tell the specially convened event, held at the Titanic Hotel: “I know I speak for everybody in the room when I say that a devolution deal will only succeed if it is materially shaped by the views of the private sector. Private sector input is vital.

“Collectively, we – the private sector – understand what the opportunities are; and we understand the barriers to achieving them.

“Our job is to now help the City Region to understand what powers and responsibilities it needs – be it business support, skills or infrastructure – to address these issues more effectively.”

Hough also used the event to confirm that the Local Enterprise Partnership is working collaboratively with seven business advocacy groups to present a unified voice from the private sector into the debate.

It has joined forces with the Liverpool & Sefton Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Liverpool, Federation of Small Businesses, Professional Liverpool, the Institute of Directors, Liverpool BID Company and the Social Enterprise Network.

Representing the group Jim Gill from Professional Liverpool added: “Today’s event demonstrates that consensus exists between the city region’s business organisations in backing the bid for an ambitious devolution deal.

“Working with the LEP, we want to ensure that the business voice is heard and that we influence how the powers and resources we gain are used to drive the city region economy forward.

“This is a real opportunity to bring the public and private sectors closer in pursuit of our vision to become a self- sufficient, sustainable and culturally rich international conurbation, which contributes strongly to the economic strength of the UK, and particularly the Northern Powerhouse.”

Robert Hough concluded: “We are now working hard with this group to devise a strategy to enable the private sector to engage in this next phase of the devolution discussion – a move that was warmly welcomed by the Secretary of State Greg Clark at a City Region leaders’ meeting last week. This is the start of a vital process.”