Mayor Dan Jarvis criticises Government for forcing Chesterfield Council to leave business partnership
Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis has criticised Government for imposing a ‘fundamentally flawed’ decision which has forced Chesterfield Council to leave a business partnership with its South Yorkshire neighbours.
Chesterfield is currently a member of both the SCR Local Enterprise Partnership and Derby Derbyshire Nottingham Nottinghamshire (D2N2) LEP.
However, the Government has said from April 2020, all councils must be represented by one LEP.
Those councils that have membership of more than one LEP have been asked to choose to be a member of just one, or face losing future funding.
As a result Chesterfield Council as part of the Derbyshire geographical boundary, has now announced it intends to remain in D2N2.
The announcement comes after Derbyshire Dales, North East Derbyshire, Bassetlaw and Bolsover councils previously announced they will remain in D2N2.
Local enterprise partnerships are voluntary partnerships between local authorities and businesses set up in 2011 by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to help determine local economic priorities and lead economic growth and job creation within the local area.
Both the mayor and SCR LEP chair James Muir criticised the Government decision. Muir added Chesterfield has benefitted from millions of pounds through SCR funding streams and have been ‘forced’ into the decision.
SCR LEP money has been used to part fund the Waterside and Northern Gateway regeneration schemes.
Chesterfield Council leader Coun Tricia Gilby said the local authority wanted the previous position to continue but added Government ‘appears determined not to allow the geographies of two LEPs to overlap’.
Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, said: "This imposition of simplistic requirements on complex economic boundaries is fundamentally flawed, and not in the best interests of our businesses, our councils and our communities.
"Businesses work across boundaries and, as vehicles to support economic and productivity growth, LEPs need to respond to local economic needs.”
LEP chair James Muir added: "Businesses do not operate with convenient administrative boundaries, but face in many directions for supply chains, for customers and for business relationships.
"That's why the LEP has consistently stood against this new policy, and it is disappointing that Government has been unwilling to amend its position.”
Coun Chesterfield Council leader, said: “This is a decision that I neither take lightly nor is it a decision that I believe is necessary. But there is no option if we are to comply with the Government’s requirement for Chesterfield’s businesses and communities to in future be represented by a single LEP.
“The council will continue to maintain an active interest in SCR through its non-constituent membership of the Mayoral Combined Authority.”