Government Adopts Heseltine Plan

Heseltine ReportIn a report last year from Lord Heseltine, 89 recommendations were made for boosting economic growth in the UK. The report, No Stone Unturned, also known as the Heseltine Review of Competitiveness, was published in October 2012.

The Government has now published a formal response announcing that it is accepting the "overwhelming majority" of Lord Heseltine’s 89 recommendations.

In an extensive 60 page response, the Government called Lord Heseltine’s report "compelling" and credited it as being "full of important ideas.”

One of the central tenets of the Heseltine review has been to decentralise power and handing over economic decisions to local government and organisations.

The Government is creating a Single Local Growth Fund in order to attract private investment and incentivise Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and their partners to generate growth. Access to funding will be via negotiation and it is hoped to inspire competition for funding.

The LEPs are being asked to develop long-term strategic plans as part of the negotiation process

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, said of the Government’s response:

“We asked Lord Heseltine to do what he does best: challenge received wisdom and give us bold ideas on how to bring government and industry together. He did just that, and that is why we are backing his ideas today.”

Business secretary Vince Cable also commented on the drive to decentralise power, adding:

“The plans will boost the UK’s competitiveness nationally and drive local growth through the local Growth Deals that we will be negotiating with every Local Enterprise Partnership.”

John Walker, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said he welcomed the plans but believed that the Government could have done more, saying:

“While this does represent a significant change in the way economic policy operates, and one we broadly welcome, we feel that the Government and Lord Heseltine have missed a trick by not looking at the way central government creates enterprise policy and how this can be decentralised to deliver a long-term and coherent approach.”

“The FSB believes a single institution, similar to the Small Business Administration in the US, would help to provide this much-needed focus and should be looked at.”

You can read the full text in the Government’s response to the Heseltine review.

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