Former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine visits Ipswich to meet growing businesses
- Credit: Su Anderson
The “Godfather of LEPs” has visited the region to see how business is growing and creating more jobs after the government gave local organisations the power to raise and spend money on projects in their own areas.
Former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine prepared the report for government “No Stone Unturned in Pursuit of Growth” for the Department of Business which was published two years ago.
That recommended giving more power to Local Enterprise Partnerships to allocate government money in co-operation with the private sector and local authorities.
It is the New Anglia LEP that has now been able to channel funds to carry out road improvements in Suffolk and start preparing other projects like the Ipswich Wet Dock Crossing.
The LEP is also able to support new and growing businesses who are helping to create jobs. And that led Lord Heseltine to meet some of the businesses who have benefitted from the organisation in Ipswich today.
He was at the Growth Hub which is managed by the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and on behalf of the New Anglia LEP.
He said: “The government has done phenomenally well to get to a position where there are now more people in work than at any time in Britain. It is a huge success.
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“I am delighted to meet people from some of the businesses that have been able to take advantage of what has been a great success for the government.” Lord Heseltine said the work of LEPs was particularly important because decisions on regional investment were now in the hands of local people.
“It is much better that these decisions are taken by businesses and local authorities who know what is needed on the ground rather than by officials in London departments,” he said.
As a former Deputy Prime Minister and leadership challenger in the Tory party, Lord Heseltine knows the pressures of high office – and said he was not at all surprised by David Cameron’s revelation that he would only serve one more term as prime minister.
He said: “He was right to say that. Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair went on too long and it is right he should clear the air. I think it showed good judgement.”