Michael Fabricant asked the Prime Minister today about the Local Enterprise Partnership and the local economy during Prime Minister’s Questions (9th July). Here is the extract from Hansard:-
Economic Development (Birmingham and Lichfield)
Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) (Con): If he will meet the chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull local enterprise partnership to discuss economic development in Birmingham and Lichfield district; and if he will make a statement.
The Prime Minister: I met the chair of the LEP board on Monday when I hosted a meeting in Birmingham to mark the agreement of the growth deal that will see over £350 million invested in Greater Birmingham and Solihull. The projects in the deal will help to create up to 19,000 jobs, allow up to 6,000 homes to be built and generate up to £110 million from local partners and private investment.
Michael Fabricant: With unemployment at just 1.5% in Lichfield and Burntwood, and down by over 28,000 across the whole LEP region, does that not demonstrate that the LEP model, bolstered by the growth funds awarded on Monday, is working?
How does my right hon. Friend plan to build on that success and encourage the most ambitious LEPs, including Greater Birmingham and Solihull, to promote the local economy still further?
The Prime Minister: As I said at the meeting with the LEP, I think that the growth deal is a very big step forward for Birmingham and the west midlands. It will result in more jobs, more investment and more houses. It will see new railway stations and transport links built. I think that we need to be more ambitious about the money we can find in central Government to support these schemes, but I also hope that local councils, including Birmingham city council, will look at every piece of unused brownfield land and every extra bit of development they can put on the table so that these growth deals get ever more ambitious.
Michael now says: “All local Councils making up the LEP, and that includes Lichfield District Council, need urgently to prepare shovel ready projects which the LEP can fund. I know that Andy Street, the Chairman of the LEP, has met with Cllr Mike Wilcox, Leader of the Council, and with Dianne Tilley, its Chief Executive, in order to ensure that Lichfield can benefit directly from its membership of what the Government recognises is now one of the top LEPs in the country. That is why the PM launched the national Growth Funds deal from Birmingham alongside Andy Street.
“But the LEP needs Lichfield to come up with practical proposals. I will offer all the help that I can to see that this happens.”