CBI comments on Heseltine review

John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said: “I welcome Lord Heseltine’s review. It identifies a wide range of levers capable of promoting growth which the CBI has been calling for for some time, from education to infrastructure, and from planning to access to finance. It is a thoughtful contribution to the growth debate.

“His key point is that we need more local action and leadership, which must be right.

“To successfully rebalance the economy towards private sector growth, every part of Britain needs to grow – we mustn’t just rely on the usual suspects of London and the South-East.

“Lord Heseltine’s review highlights the need for powerful governance structures to support private sector growth throughout the UK. The CBI’s recent report The UK’s Growth Landscape set out what needs to change to ensure that the structures in place, such as Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), unlock the pockets of private sector potential which exist in all parts of the UK.”

On the role of Local Enterprise Partnerships, Mr Cridland said: “LEPs have so far lacked the power and resources to impact local growth. Given this review highlights a number of additional areas in which LEPs can help support private sector activity, it is even more vital that they are given appropriate resources to help them to meet this challenge.

“In addition, the CBI is calling for a broader spatial approach than can be provided by LEPs alone to be taken in some policy areas, for example when implementing new transport projects which cross LEP boundaries, where a purely local or central approach will not deliver for business. The CBI has recommended devolving additional funds to LEPs, conditional on collaboration on policies such as transport planning, innovation and economic analysis.”