1. The Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee has announced an inquiry into how LEPs will work and what they will do. The Committee doesn’t get to make any final decisions, but it does have some influence and at least provides an opportunity for people to get their opinions on the record.

    It’s chaired by Black Country MP Adrian Bailey and has a few other West Midlands members, so it should have some understanding of the needs of the region too.

    I’ve put up some details about the inquiry and how people can submit evidence here:

    For example, a creative business or organisation could send a couple of sheets of A4 setting out how the loss of the RDA will affect it (if it will) and what sort of structure or powers would allow LEPs to help the creative sector.

  2. Hi.

    I was lucky enough to be invited to an industry roundtable at BCU. It never became apparent which industry it was but I was the only person in jeans and the startling number of graphs suggested I had been invited by accident. However…

    A few things became clear, firstly the decision has been made to centralise all Inward Investment strategy, innovation and Access to Finance to London, which is a real shame for the region because Birmingham is doing particularly well in the first two. This tells us that the effects of the dismantling of the RDAs will be very wide ranging and that certain decisions have already been made. Therefore the creative industry should get involved while it still can.

    Central government is keen for the LEPs to have a very strong business focus and preferably be chaired by someone from business. At the moment I suspect the future of the LEPs are in the hands of councils by default and will remain that way unless challenged. Another good reason for to get involved.

    John Hemming, MP for Yardley, spoke very knowledgeably and confidently on LEPs. I don’t think he knows all of the answers but he certainly knows the right questions. Maybe start by asking your local MP where they stand and how you can get involved.

    Mostly though you should be speaking in the first instance to the Chamber. Vince Cable, Secretary of State for businessy stuff wrote to every Chamber of Commerce asking for their LEP plan by September 6th. So I’d contact your local Chamber representative and find out what’s happening because that deadline is looming quite dramatically given the number of hoops to jump through and decisions to be avoided until the very last minute.

  3. It’s crucial that the voice of the creative industries in the region is raised in these debates otherwise the achievements of the past two decades will be set back. Firstly, there is the direct address that individuals and busineeses can make to their respective elected member, be they a local councillor or MP. The argument should be clear and focussed, and spell out the economic contribution that the creative industries make to the region, and that the danger is that the baby could well be dispatched with the bathwater…..Secondly, there are a number of advocacy, semi representative and independent organisations that should begin to be mobilising arguments in favour of the sector, and devising practical strategies. The Creative Republic is one such an organisation. The Producers Forum another. This is their time and I’m sure they’ll be on the case.

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