Government ‘must act now to implement Heseltine’s review’

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Calls for Britain’s economy to be boosted by slashing bureaucracy and shifting and power to the regions have been welcomed by Sheffield Chamber of Commerce.

The proposals for what some have described as the biggest decentralisation of power and finance in England for decades are contained in a report, commissioned by the Government from former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine.

The report calls for Local Enterprise Partnerships to be given more money and powers and for Chambers of Commerce to have a greater role in providing business support.

Sheffield Chamber executive director Richard Wright welcomed the report and called for rapid action.

“Now is the time to act on the findings and drive forward key actions which will achieve success and prosperity, not only for the Sheffield City Region, but for the country,” said Mr Wright.

“We need growth now because people and businesses are hurting. It is important that all bodies from the Chambers, to the LEP, local authorities, Government and businesses, accept their responsibility for delivering growth. Let’s not make this another expensive report that sits on the shelf or isn’t properly implemented. ”

Entrepreneur Kevin Parkin, who led the turnaround of DavyMarkham and now heads an innovative startup company, was sceptical about the prospects for Lord Heseltine’s report.

“I think this in another ‘Headline Initiative’ - and one which will not be backed up by hard cash, at least not in the short term,” said Mr Parkin.

“The big issue for me is not convincing the Ministers, but convincing the civil servants and permanent secretaries to give up their power and influence and possibly rationalise or close their precious departments.”