Here is an interview the LEP CEO, Chris Garcia, gave in February 2014:
“We have core funding but we are not a Regional Development Agency. I get £250,000 as core funding per annum and there’s some money to pay for contractors so you can see that’s not a lot of money.”
Was this including salaries of Board Members and staff – we don’t know because they don’t publish accounts.
He then went in to say, in the same article:
… Partnership is fundamental to us. My view is that the LEP is there to facilitate and build those partnerships that will make a difference.
Q) That sounds like a public sector approach when the LEP is meant to be private sector-led. What’s your response to that?
A) Investment comes from two sources –the private sector and public sector. Our role is to maximise both so we can’t just say we’re only private sector. We have to recognise that the £200 billion that is out there is money controlled by the public sector and distributed by the public sector. If I’m to maximise the amount of money that comes into the South West, I have to satisfy the National Audit Office and government departments. We have to recognise that’s fundamental – but at the same time we need the flexibility to work however we wish. …”
However they wish – hmmm.
For anyone wanting to understand the history of LEPs (originally having taken over Regional Development Agency assets and tied in only with Enterprise Zones) this is useful reading:
How our LEP (secretive, unaccountable, non-transparent, politically-appointed business people whose only driver is “growth”) suddenly morphed into a group capable of taking control of millions and millions of pounds of our assets, potential grants and direct income from all of us in Devon and Somerset – as well taking responsibility for “health and well-being” AND directing where Housing IN ADDITION to that in neighbourhood and Local Plans should go, is not covered in that document and remains a mystery.
Whose idea WAS it to give this small group such a lot of power?