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Councils agree deal to take over SEMLEP business support functions from April 2024

SIX COUNCILS across the South East Midlands have agreed a deal to take over the business support functions previously delivered by the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership.

Activity including strategic economic planning, the Growth Hub and the Careers Hub, which links schools and colleges with employers to create world-class careers opportunities are among those that will be hosted by West Northamptonshire Council from April 1 next year.

The decision follows the government’s decision to cease core funding of Local Enterprise Partnerships from April 2024 and for the LEP functions to be delivered by local authorities.

Working in collaboration, the six local authorities – Bedford, Central Bedfordshire, Luton, Milton Keynes City  and North and West Northamptonshire Councils – will build on the successes of the LEP to secure the future economic success of the South East Midlands region, they said in a statement.

SEMLEP chief executive Hilary Chipping pictured left said: “This decision marks the end of a long period of uncertainty for the SEMLEP team. We remain committed to responding to the needs of local businesses through our Growth Hub and Careers Hub and will work with our local authority partners to ensure a seamless transition to the new arrangements.”

SEMLEP and West Northamptonshire Council have begun preparatory work for the transfer. That will continue in the run-up to April 1, led by the Central Area Growth Board, and will include detailed proposals for the engagement of local businesses.

Cllr Pete Marland pictured right, leader of Milton Keynes City Council and co-chair of the Central Area Growth Board, said: “It is important the business services currently provided by the South East Midlands LEP continue to be available and I am very pleased that the six local authorities in the area have come together to ensure that continuity.”

CAGB co-chair Cllr Jonathan Nunn, leader of West Northamptonshire Council, added: “SEMLEP has carried out excellent, invaluable work in supporting our region’s many businesses and boosting economic prosperity across our area and all six local authorities are dedicated to building upon those achievements under these new arrangements from spring next year.

“West Northants is privileged to be chosen to host these functions on behalf of all partners, and we will continue to work closely and collaboratively to support and strengthen business communities across our region and shape fresh opportunities for all.”


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