LEPs: Vince Cable helped to create them then had second thoughts, as did others

Lots and lots of people and institutions saw that LEPs were not what they were supposed to be – including Vince Cable who helped to create them!

Vince Cable has questioned the coalition’s “messy” system to help businesses across the regions of Britain and admitted that ministers may not have “got it right”.

The Liberal Democrat business secretary said he was sceptical of whether local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) and the “City Deal” project, which the government ushered in to replace regional development agencies (RDAs), had been successful.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/05/01/vince-cable-local-enterprise-partnership-messy_n_5245455.html

Insight Public Affairs in 2013:

“Accountability”

It is imperative that the government put in place improved accountability structures that will provide a conduit for the effective assessment of the performance of LEPs, appraising the value-added by major funding streams and also the extent of local economic development. While the creation of the local growth committee is welcome, it operates in a vacuum at the heart of government with little interaction with Parliament and the 39 LEPs, and as a result, it is not ultimately responsible for the performance of LEPs in delivering economic growth. Accountability will not be established until lines of responsibility are improved within Whitehall; this can only be achieved by appointing a minister for local growth with sole responsibility for the performance of LEPs.”

Click to access IPA-LEP-Report-Clarity-or-Confusion.pdf

Financial Times 2013:

The fear is that, if weaker LEPs do not catch up, Lord Heseltine’s bidding process will result in money being allocated according to how effective a LEP is rather than how needy a region may be.

“We need stronger LEPs across bigger areas,” said Robert Hough, chairman of Liverpool city region LEP. “Many depend on local authority support. That is difficult to give when they are cutting elsewhere and libraries and leisure centres are closing.”

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9f8d387e-5cdb-11e2-8229-00144feab49a.html

Nick Clegg lambasts Cameron and Osborne: no social housing because Labour voters live in them an Tories rig rules to stay in power

“George Osborne and David Cameron blocked plans to build more social housing because it would “produce more Labour voters”, Nick Clegg has claimed,

According to the former deputy prime minister, the chancellor and prime minister rejected repeated Lib Dem attempts to get more money to build homes for people on low incomes.

Clegg quoted the chancellor and prime minister in an interview with The Independent today as telling him: “All it does is produce more Labour voters.”

The former Lib Dem leader also said Osborne blocked his attempts to expand childcare provision for two-year-olds for poorer families in favour of offering 30 hours of free childcare for older children as it would score a political victory over Ed Miliband.

Clegg claims the chancellor told him at the time: “All we want to do is to shoot Labour’s fox”.

Labour MP Jess Phillips MP told The Huffington Post UK: “Nick Clegg complaining about a Tory government which he propped up for five years would be funny were it not so serious for the millions of working people who have suffered at the hands of him and David Cameron.

“That said, amidst all the self-serving bluster Nick Clegg has stumbled upon one truth: the Tories are trying to rig the rules of the game in their favour.

“Whether its attacks on opposition funding or changing constituency boundaries to help themselves, David Cameron’s is a government which puts its own interests before the country and it’s Britain that is paying the price.”

In the interview, Clegg also accused the Conservative Party of “rigging the rules” in its favour in such a way that could lead to a Tory “one-party state”.

He said: “If you look at the way the Conservatives seek to hobble and neuter Westminster, the bullying swagger with which they treat the BBC, the general air of hubris, there is a feeling that politics is being reduced to the whims and mood swings of one political party. That is not healthy.

“A combination of US-style game playing by the Conservatives and Labour’s self-indulgence is conspiring to leave millions of British voters completely voiceless.”

His criticism comes as officials have announced details of how the UK’s electoral map is to be re-drawn, but an analysis of the Boundary Commission’s proposals suggest it could cost the Labour Party 10 MPs to the Conservatives at the next election.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2016/02/26/george-osborne-didnt-want-to-build-houses-that-produce-labour-voters-claims-nick-clegg_n_9324920.html

“Many public appointments need more rigorous scrutiny” says Parliamentary Committee

“Rt Hon. Andrew Tyrie MP, Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, said:

“Public appointments to quangos need more rigorous scrutiny. They have needed it for years. More of the most powerful appointments – of the Chief Executive of the FCA and the Governor of the Bank of England – should be subject to full pre appointment scrutiny. The Government continues to disagree, appealing to the ‘market sensitivity’ of these appointments. That is not an adequate explanation.

The time has come to entrench the independence of the post of Chief Executive of the FCA. On behalf of the Treasury Committee, I have tabled an amendment to the Bank of England and Financial Services Bill to give this effect. The Chief Executive of the FCA should be able to operate with the confidence that he or she cannot be dismissed without Parliament’s – the Treasury Committee’s – approval. The public, too, need to have confidence that the Government is not interfering with independent supervisors and regulators.

The OBR provides an appropriate precedent. In 2010 the Chancellor agreed that the appointment and dismissal of the head of the OBR should be subject to Select Committee approval. He also agreed that this would bolster the independence – and the perception of independence – of Robert Chote, to the benefit of both the Chancellor and the country. And so it has proved. The Chancellor has frequently alluded to the Chairman of the OBR’s independence from the Treasury to reinforce the credibility of the forecast. A similar arrangement should also be put in place to entrench the FCA’s independence.

The OTS’ independence certainly needs to be bolstered. The OTS cannot achieve much if it appears – whether fairly or not – to be a creature of the Treasury. It is crucial that the scope and limitations of its independence are fully understood by HM Treasury, the OTS, Parliament and the public.”

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/treasury-committee/news-parliament-2015/scrutiny-of-appointments-report-published-15-16/

Sidbury ward – town council by-election

IF YOU HAVE STRONG VIEWS ON THE SIDFORD FIELDS INDUSTRIAL SITE, THIS MAY BE OF INTEREST:

“The election of a new town councillor will be held on March 31 – if the Sidbury seat is contested.

Residents have until Wednesday (March 2) to get their nominations in for a candidate to join Sidmouth Town Council.

The new councillor will fill the vacancy left by the resignation of David Addis last month, and will join Councillor John Hollick in representing the village.

If the ward is uncontested, a new member will be seconded onto the council.

Nomination papers are available from the returning officer at Council Offices, Knowle, Sidmouth, EX10 8HL, and they should be sent to the same address by 4pm on Wednesday (March 2).”

http://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/get_nominations_in_for_sidbury_ward_1_4435051

And here is the good news …

Look forward to a LOT of pothole filling in the next few months as (some) East Devon roads are made safe for Tour of Britain cycle riders when the have their Sidmouth – Ottery – Honiton section on Friday 9th September.

We wouldn’t want THEM falling off their bikes or their back-up cars getting broken axles.