Monday, November 9, 2015

News: Chambers welcome new LEP chairman

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The four Chambers of Commerce in the Sheffield city region (SCR) have reacted positively to the news that Sir Nigel Knowles has been appointed as the new chairman of the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

A collaboration between businesses and the local authorities that are placed at the heart of growth in the regions, the Government charged LEPs with putting together local growth plans that will be the basis on which the Government negotiates deals with each LEP for new levers, resources, funding and flexibility over them.

The global co-chairman of law firm, DLA Piper will take on the new role from the end of the year which will follow on from more detail being confirmed by the Government for the city region's latest proposed devolution deal.

Andrew McKenna, chairman of the Sheffield City region Chambers Group, said: "Sir Nigel is an excellent candidate for the post and I would like to offer him the Chambers' sincere congratulations on the appointment. Sir Nigel has a background and CV that will excite the region's private sector and convince the local business community that the LEP, increasingly, will have the wherewithal to produce a significant step change in the region's economic performance.

"Additionally, Sir Nigel's impressive track record demonstrates that he will have the ability to further improve partnerships between the public and private sector in the City Region whilst, simultaneously, making potentially tough decisions that are based on economic fact rather than political expediency.

"As Chambers we are absolutely committed to working hand in glove with the Local Enterprise Partnership to grow our region's economy. We will do this by delivering high quality services for businesses – particularly in relation to international trade, enterprise and business growth – and also by being a critical friend to the LEP. Chambers interface with local businesses 24/7 and are ideally placed to play back to the LEP the issues, challenges and opportunities that are concerning the region's private sector."

At the same time as pledging their firm commitment to working with Sir Nigel and the LEP, the four chambers, which represent 7,000 businesses, have four immediate priorities for the incoming LEP chair:

- Work with partners to develop an end-to-end skills systems that works for employers
- Deliver a transport and digital infrastructure that facilitates and supports more trading opportunities locally, nationally and internationally
- Ensure that the LEP – through the nascent Growth Hub – delivers on its promise to have "world class business support" in the region
- Encourage significant new inward investors to the area from high value-adding sectors

Sheffield CIty Region LEP website

Images: SCR LEP / twitter

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