Hertfordshire LEP Chair Mark Bretton, and other business leaders from across the LEP areas in England, met with the Prime Minister on 31 January. The Council of LEP Chairs briefed Theresa May on the development of their Local Industrial Strategies – blueprints for driving long-term productivity and prosperity – which will see LEPs work closely with Government to unlock local growth.

The council also covered updates on the timelines for delivering the Local Industrial Strategies, engagement with SMEs and rural communities, progress against the Grand Challenges identified in the Government’s Industrial Strategy which aim to keep the UK at the forefront of key global trends, and discussion around the latest business intelligence from across the country ahead of the UK’s departure from the EU.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “Local Enterprise Partnerships have a vital role to play in delivering our modern Industrial Strategy. Working closely with Government, their leadership is helping make sure businesses thrive as we prepare to leave the European Union.

“I was pleased to hear directly from LEP representatives how they are bringing together the local business community, universities and other partners to design long-term, ambitious plans tailored to the strengths and needs of their areas.

“Using their unique insight and expertise to co-develop Local Industrial Strategies, LEPs are boosting economic growth, securing jobs and delivering prosperity – making sure that no community is left behind.”

Dr Ann Limb CBE DL, Co-chair of the meeting and Chair of the South East Midlands LEP, said: “LEP leaders were pleased to talk to the Prime Minister today about the impact that Local Industrial Strategies will have on productivity and economic growth in our respective areas, and confirming that we are all on target to deliver them on schedule.

“LEPs are uniquely placed to build economic growth and productivity in our areas, and to exploit the vast business expertise in finding solutions to the four ‘grand challenges’ we all face and to tackle the Foundations of Productivity identified in the Industrial Strategy. Today’s meeting also allowed LEP business leaders to discuss how local businesses in their area are responding to, and preparing for, the UK’s exit from the European Union.

“This is the second meeting of the PM’s Council of LEP Chairs and firmly establishes the central role LEPs have in leading economic growth in their areas and the valuable dialogue with the Prime Minister that this council brings.

“Our unique partnership of private and public sector leaders with a solid track record of delivery, plays to our core strengths helping to build an ambitious programme of long-term local economic growth and increased productivity that works for everyone, no matter where they live.”

Mark Bretton, Chair of Hertfordshire LEP, said: "This meeting was a valuable opportunity for LEPs to update the Prime Minister on the strides being made in the development of Local Industrial Strategies, as well as feedback the views and concerns of businesses within our respective regions with regards to Brexit. 

"Government and LEPs will be working more closely than ever this year and the Prime Minister has duly reaffirmed the vital role we play as catalysts for local growth. Here in Hertfordshire, we will continue to work in partnership with stakeholders over the next 12 months to develop a strong collective proposition to secure the best deal for the county.”