If you’ve ever been involved in anything that Advantage West Midlands (this region’s RDA) has supported (and I’d be surprised if you haven’t in some way or other) then this is relevant to you, even if, on the surface, it might seem turgid, overly political and dull.
You may have heard of the government’s plans for Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs):
joint local authority-business bodies brought forward by local authorities themselves to promote local economic development – to replace Regional Development Agencies (RDAs)
Marc Reeves has written an amusing summary of the situation in the West Midlands. Or it would be amusing if this stuff wasn’t quite so important. Essentially it’s all a bit of a mess. Here’s the substantial bit:
Business VoiceWM, 17 Chambers of Commerce and their affiliates, IoD, CBI, the EEF, FSB, the Noddy Club, and Kingswinford Lions have joined with 65 other business organisations to each separately make several statements about how united they all are about Doing Something Serious for the West Midlands. Unfortunately, none of them quite knows what that is.
Marc suggests we compare and contrast this with the harmonious situation in Leeds. Manchester seem to be doing pretty well too. If you want more detail then David Bailey in the Birmingham Post has been worth a read on this subject recently. Follow The Business Desk (WM) too.
There’s a worry going round that businesses aren’t sufficiently involved in the discussions around what might/might not come out of all this. I’d bet that creative industries businesses/freelancers are even less involved. It’s important to have a voice in the discussions though, especially given the amount of funding/investment funnelled into the industry and the extent of the cuts predicted.
So people should get involved. There are a few questions though:
- with the current level of uncertainty, who are the people we should be speaking to?
- how should businesses/people get involved?
- who’s getting involved on whose behalf?
Answers on a postcard…
There’s some great comments below. Additionally, Dave Harte has written a stat-stuffed companion piece.