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The Fruits of Effective Collaboration and Why Lancashire didn’t get an LEP

4 November 2010

It was announced on 2nd November 2010 that North West aerospace research has received a £2m boost from its trade alliance.

The North West Aerospace Alliance (NWAA) organised funding from two separate projects. This will come via the governments Technology Strategy Board, responsible for stimulating innovation and will be used to expand research into composites.

The first £1.74m project, Intertex, was promoted by the NWAA members. The group is one of several groups involved in the NWAA Aerospace Supply Chain Excellence Programmes (ASCE and ASCE 2), funded by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Although the NWDA is on its way out, the NWAA has already secured funding for the ASCE programme for the next few years.

What happens when you don't collaborate...

The government announced last week the approval of 24 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) throughout the UK. However, Lancashire was not on the list. Three local councils submitted three separate bids for Lancashire and all of them were chucked in the bin.

Not surprising really! For instance, the Wyre council bid, whose territory includes the enormous BAE Warton assembly and research site and several key associated engineering companies submitted a three page document!

Attitudes of 'what has Preston ever done for us' by East Lancs councillors completely vindicates the governments decision to reject the bids.

The parochial nature and attitude of the bids submitted highlights an appalling lack of vision by all concerned and will have an effect on access to funding in the county.

Lancashire business people are now scratching their heads as to how they can access the Regional Growth Fund, headed up by Michael Heseltine. This fund of half a billion pounds per annum over the next three years for the whole of the country is 74% down on the budget previously enjoyed by the now defunct RDA.

Let us hope that some how sense will prevail, and Lancashire CC can organise a renewed bid which recognises the world class aircraft, jet engine and nuclear industries under their noses which provide so much employment and wealth, directly and indirectly to the people of Lancashire.

Maybe they should ask the NWAA how to get an LEP.

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