Lancashire enterprise chiefs urged to ‘listen’ following damning results

Business leaders today launched a scathing attack on the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership – urging it to listen to what companies had to say.

Tuesday, 21st April 2015, 7:44 am
CONCERNED: Norman Tenray of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce

North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce president Norman Tenray attacked the LEP after a survey found only two per cent of businesses had been consulted on its activities.

The damning results were discovered following the Chamber’s Quarterly Economic Survey, which included a number of supplementary questions about the LEP.

The survey asked businesses in Lancashire if they had been consulted on the design and implementation of the LEP’s “Strategic Economic Plan” for the county.

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Sixty per cent said they had not been consulted, with 38 per cent saying they did not know whether they had been given an opportunity to contribute or approve the plan in any way.

And asked if they would like to be consulted on what the LEP’s priorities should be, 76 per cent said “yes”.

The LEP is steering through planned enterprise zones in Warton and Samlesbury but has been criticised for lack of progress.

Mr Tenray said: “We have been saying for some time now that the LEP does not consult Lancashire businesses enough and this is the proof.

“This is what businesses in Lancashire are telling us and it is not acceptable.

“It is about time Lancashire’s LEP started talking to the businesses it is meant to be supporting and give them a real say on where money is spent in the county.”

But LEP chiefs today defending their record, pointing to the £454 million Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal amongst other projects.

Martin Kelly of the LEP said: “Lancashire’s chambers of commerce play a key role in representing businesses and we are keen to continue to engage with them, which is why they are represented on the LEP’s BOOST Board, and SME consultation group, the overarching network of Lancashire’s business networks.

“The LEP also recommended to Government the Lancashire Chambers’ recent RGF6 business support proposal, which secured £8m in funding support for local SMEs.

“I’d encourage businesses to join their local chamber, or another business representative body, and work with the LEP in identifying common themes.”