THE close and positive working relationship between Birmingham and Solihull is believed to be one of the reasons Lord Heseltine has taken a personal interest in the region’s Local Enterprise Partnership.
A three-month project seeking to establish ways to place LEPs at the heart of driving economic development through enhanced powers, was launched recently in Birmingham.
The Greater Birmingham Project will see partners involved in economic development put together a business plan which will focus on wealth creation opportunities in the GBSLEP area.
Lord Heseltine’s report ‘No Stone Unturned’ was published in October 2012 and contained a series of recommendations on how devolved powers should be allocated to the regions with Local Enterprise Partnerships leading policy.
It proposed that LEPs be given greater powers to develop their own tailored local economic plans and, from 2015-16 they would bid for a share of a single national funding pot to support growth. The Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership will be the focus of the next phase of the process.
Key elements of the LEP for Solihull include plans to develop the M42 Economic Gateway.
Solihull Council has appointed a consortium headed by locally based construction giant Arup to showcase the potential along the M42 corridor.
That area already supports over 100,000 jobs but it is believed a further 63,000 jobs could be created through the Gateway and many more in the wider region.
The aim is for the Solihull plan to complement a similar exercise in Birmingham to drive economic recovery in the West Midlands.
Councillor Ken Meeson, Leader of Solihull Council said: “The M42 Economic Gateway project brings tremendous economic opportunities for the Borough. The Council is taking the lead in developing a road map to make sure we manage the growth and ensure it brings the right benefits to Solihull and the region.”