Business has its say on LEP priorities

Dec 01, 2010


The event on December 7 at Jurys Inn, Central Milton Keynes, aims to confirm the business manifesto and mandate for growth. The outcome will form part of the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership.
The LEP already has the backing of the city’s two MPs and has been discussed at a meeting at Cranfield Innovation Centre last month.
The Jurys Inn event has been organised by Milton Keynes & North Bucks Chamber of Commerce. Chief executive Rita Spada (pictured) urged businesses to attend and have their say.
“Within the coming weeks, the structure and appointments for establishing the working LEP will take shape,” she added. “It is absolutely vital that there is a clear steer on what we as a business community believe should be at the heart of any decisions.
"Only when we can clearly demonstrate what we need and bring to the table can we be an equal and effective partner.”
The ‘Star Chamber’ event at Jurys Inn takes place between 4.30pm and 6.30pm on December 7. For more information, visit
More than 160 delegates from business, the public sector and education have already given their support to plans for the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership after the green light from government.
The Cranfield meeting discussed what the LEP meant to the region and explored how SEMLEP goes forward. The partnership – one of an initial 24 given the go-ahead by ministers – will bring together business and local authorities to drive the recovery forward at a local and regional level.
Both Milton Keynes MPs have welcomed the green light for the LEP. Its success was crucial and had to be business-led, Central Bedfordshire Council leader Cllr Tricia Turner told the meeting, but it was only going to work if everyone delivered a single vision.
Mark Lancaster, MP for Milton Keynes North, said: “The beginning of the LEP truly signals a move towards business-led economic growth. By bridging the gap between the public and private sectors, this LEP is essential to our recovery from the financial collapse and securing future prosperity.”
The LEP encompasses Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire, Luton and parts of Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire and Hertfordshire.
Iain Stewart, MP for Milton Keynes South, said: “This is a much more logical grouping for Milton Keynes than the artificial boundaries of the South East of England and, with business in the driving seat, will help the area’s economic development and lead to more jobs and investment.I am glad that Milton Keynes Council has been working closely with the local business community to drive this proposal.”
MK Dons FC chairman Pete Winkelman said that sporting successes in the area showed how the region can succeed. He told the summit: “The private sector is here today because the responsibility falls on our shoulders to deliver real jobs for real people but we need to focus out of our private sector and we need to work in partnership with our public sector colleagues.”
Cranfield University deputy vice chancellor Professor Clifford Friend said that the university intended to play a key role in developing the offering around the partnership.
He told delegates, which comprised representatives from local authorities around the sub-region, from business and from education, that the next step was to sort out the LEP’s vision. “It is down to us to build something, whether or not there are the public funds to build a really vibrant future for this South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership.”
Businesswoman Mary Clarke, chief executive of Cranfield-based human resources company Cognisco, said: “To make real transformational change, we need to support and engage businesses to ensure that they get genuine help and that we develop an economic and social environment that is ripe for enterprise and employment growth.”
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