Lancashire misses out on LEP shortlist

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Crane in Manchester
Image caption,
Many English regions are desperate for new private sector investment

Lancashire has failed to win government approval for any of its three proposed Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).

The LEPs, made up of businesses and councils, are being invited to bid a share of a £1.4bn regional growth fund.

The fund takes over the work of the scrapped Regional Development Agencies and is aimed at helping create new private sector jobs.

Twenty-four LEPs were given the go-ahead by Business Secretary Vince Cable, but none were in Lancashire.

Among those on the shortlist were ones in Liverpool, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Warrington and Cumbria.

The government said it was not only LEPs who could bid for cash from the regional growth fund, but that individual councils and businesses could also apply.

Speaking in the House of Commons, the Conservative MP for Pendle, Andrew Stephenson, said he hoped the county would benefit from the funding.

He said: "Businesses in Pendle and I are very keen that the Pennine-Lancashire bid, about which we have recently submitted additional information, will be approved soon."

Mr Cable said: "Several of the best bids came from the North West, including Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region.

"There is a problem with Lancashire that there are overlapping bids, fiercely competitive and different, and we are currently in the process of evaluating which are strongest on the criteria which we have set."

Ministers say the LEPs - which will also lead regeneration projects and promote training - will cost less to run and be more accountable than the Regional Development Agencies.

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