Localis’ latest report, The Delivery of an Industrial Strategy, calls on the government to focus on all four corners of the country in its national industrial strategy, and should aim to agree local strategies with every part of the country by the end of the Brexit transition period.
The report argues that in rural England, counties, as strategic authorities, should play a strong role in producing local strategies, alongside Local Enterprise Partnerships.
Philip Atkins, County Councils Network vice-chairman, and spokesman for housing, planning and infrastructure, said:
“This report from Localis rightly argues that a successful industrial strategy relies on local places taking forward local strategies; a blanket one size fits all policy will not fulfil the government’s pledge to create ‘an economy that works for everyone’.
“However, the report suggests that a lack of clarity, powers, and democratic accountability could hinder localised industrial strategies, to be led by LEPs, in the two-thirds of England that are not under mayoral combined authorities. This, Localis argues, could exacerbate economic and social mobility divides across the country.
“County leaders acknowledge LEPs are here to stay, and enjoy positive relationships with them locally. Counties, as strategic authorities, should play a more important role in localised industrial strategies. They should be at the forefront of economic growth alongside local businesses on LEPs as they know their economics intimately and are responsible for the key growth-related functions of highways, infrastructure, skills and transport that will shape a place’s future prosperity.
“If localised strategies are to deliver positive results for local areas, counties must be firmly be part of the process.”