Lasting legacy left by New Anglia LEP as functions are transferred to county councils

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Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils are set to continue the work of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and build on its 13-year legacy as they formally take over its activities.

From 1 April 2024, the key functions of the LEP and staff will be integrated into the local authorities as part of the Government’s plans for devolution. These functions include business representation, strategic economic planning, and responsibility for the delivery of government programmes where directed.

Business support will continue to be provided by New Anglia Growth Hub – which delivers the LEP’s business growth programme, including the administration of grant schemes – as its teams in both Norfolk and Suffolk transfer.

Integration of Local Enterprise Partnerships into upper tier local authorities was announced in the Chancellor’s March 2023 budget statement, and in August 2023 the Government confirmed its decision.

The LEP is currently working closely with both local authorities to manage an orderly transition and ensure its services continue to be delivered across the region under the new arrangements.

Established in 2011 by the then coalition government, New Anglia LEP has:

  • Attracted around £350m in Government funding to Norfolk and Suffolk, attracting a further £1.3bn in public and private sector funds.
  • Awarded over 1,800 grants totalling £51.4m to businesses and organisations in the region.
  • Invested £4.172m in high growth businesses through its angel co-fund New Anglia Capital.
  • Supported over 13,000 businesses and delivered nearly 74,000 hours of support via New Anglia Growth Hub.
  • Added £1bn to the local economy over 10 years through its Business Growth Programme.
  • Supported the delivery of 5,476 jobs and 222 businesses via its Enterprise Zones.

Major construction and infrastructure projects across Norfolk and Suffolk received important funding thanks to the LEP’s Growth Deal with Government, which secured £223.5m for the region to 2021. Examples include the Cefas (Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science) headquarters in Lowestoft, STEM Innovation Campus at West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds, Third River Crossing at Great Yarmouth and Productivity East, the centre for engineering, technology and management at the University of East Anglia in Norwich.

In another boost for the region, the LEP secured £32.1m from the Government’s Getting Building Fund for shovel-ready projects such as the new Marina Centre on Great Yarmouth seafront, the redevelopment of the Cornhill in Bury St Edmunds and the Integrated Care Academy at the University of Suffolk.

The LEP’s impressive legacy can also be seen in the projects supported via its Growing Places Fund, such as The Winerack on Ipswich’s Waterfront, Broadland Food Innovation Centre at the Food Enterprise Park near Norwich, Carlton Marshes nature reserve, near Lowestoft, and the power upgrade for businesses at Snetterton Park in west Norfolk.

C-J Green, Chair of New Anglia LEP, stressed it was business-as-usual for the organisation in the lead up to the transition on 1 April. She also spoke of what had been achieved on behalf of Norfolk and Suffolk through the LEP’s partnership working.

“We are immensely proud of what we have achieved working in collaboration with our public and private sector partners and believe our region is well-placed to become an even greater force in the UK economy, particularly as a centre for clean, sustainable growth. The LEP has left a lasting legacy.

“We have a superb team and as we transition at the end of March, we look forward to Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils building on those achievements and going on to deliver for our economy, businesses, and key sectors.”

Norfolk County Council’s leader, Councillor Kay Mason Billig, said: “We have valued working with the New Anglia LEP to boost Norfolk’s economy, infrastructure and skills. Thousands of businesses have benefited from the LEP’s support.
“We will ensure that we keep the momentum going when LEP staff and functions transfer to us and we progress our £20 million per year devolution deal. The addition of skills and capabilities from the LEP team will strengthen the council’s ability to deliver its enhanced role as the Government’s designated lead body for economic development.”

Cllr Richard Smith MVO, Suffolk County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Transport Strategy and Waste, said: “I am greatly appreciative of the positive impact the New Anglia LEP has had on business, innovation, skills, jobs and much more in Suffolk. Its achievements speak for themselves, with thousands of jobs created, thousands of businesses supported, and millions of pounds invested since it was established in 2011.

“A key part of the LEP’s integration will be the establishment of a new Suffolk Business Board, which will be a forum for business, education and local political leaders to shape a compelling economic strategy and identity for Suffolk, attract new investment, build strong partnerships and act as an advocate for Suffolk’s economy at a national level.”

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