June 26, 2019 11.11 am This story is over 53 months old

Council leader suggests LEP merger to solve border problem

Government has called for LEPs to stop overlapping borders

The new leader of North East Lincolnshire Council has said he would support a merging of the Humber and Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnerships if the authority was forced to choose between the two.

A Government review last July into the economic partnerships, designed to boost business and economies, has called for overlaps in regional borders to be “eradicated” and the council has been asked to choose.

Conservative Councillor Philip Jackson’s predecessor and Labour member Ray Oxby had previously backed remaining in the Humber LEP, saying the county’s “natural geography” was there.

Councillor Jackson said: “For the last few years we’ve had the best of both worlds. My view, and that of others, is that we want to try and continue with that arrangement which we think has worked well. We don’t see why we need to reinvent the wheel.”

He said the authority had written to MPs and were awaiting the outcome of the Tory leadership contest to find out whether any new ministers might change the decision.

However, he added: “Speaking personally, another arrangement that would appeal to me would be to combine the two LEPs because both of them are fairly small organisations at the moment and would benefit from having a larger LEP across the whole of the area.

Former Labour Leader of North East Lincolnshire Council, Councillor Ray Oxby said he wanted the council to remain in the Humber LEP.

“It would have a lot of synergy, there’s a lot of commonality across parts of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire as well.”

He said it was important that North East Lincolnshire “don’t turn our backs” on either side.

Local enterprise partnerships are organisations made up of leading councillors and businesses which promote economic growth.

The current LEP area covers Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire.

However, the northern areas of the county also fall into the Humber partnership region.

The government wants to remove these overlaps in order to “boost performance”.

Councillor Colin Davie, executive member for economy at Lincolnshire County Council, has previously said he was “uncomfortable” with the idea of changing the borders.

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