By Max Clarke

A new local enterprise partnership to lead local growth for London’s firms was today given the green light by Minister for Business, Mark Prisk and Decentralisation Minister, Greg Clark.

The London Mayor and a leading business person will co-chair the city’s new local enterprise Board, which will bring together the capital’s political and business leaders, local boroughs and universities with the aim of making London the world capital of business.

There are now 31 local enterprise partnerships across the country since the Government's Local Growth White Paper was published in October last year. Local enterprise partnerships now cover over 87% of the population- 1.8million businesses and 20m employees.

Ministers believe this announcement is a strong testament to the ambition and enthusiasm that local enterprise partnerships are inspiring across the country to revitalise the economy and create growth from the ground up.
The London proposal, which will help to ensure the Mayor’s aim for London to have the most competitive business environment in the world, has the support of: London Councils (representing the support of all London boroughs), London First, the London Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses.

"I am pleased that we are able to ask another local enterprise partnership to appoint their board. The partnerships have an important role to play in driving local economic growth and creating a strong environment for business” said Mark Prisk.

"We are continuing to assess proposals for further partnerships across England, so that soon more local communities will benefit from the knowledge and expertise of the private sector and the opportunities that growth brings" he continued.

Greg Clark added:

“I’m delighted to be able to invite London to begin appointing its local enterprise partnership board today. This partnership has the ambition, big ideas and clout needed to create economic growth in the capital from the ground up. We are continuing to put London's future firmly in the hands of Londoners.

“Nearly 90 per cent of the population now has a local enterprise partnership set to promote jobs and prosperity in their local area. This is a testament to the ideas, ambition and innovation you can find at the grassroots.
Local enterprise partnerships will operate within a geography that reflects natural economic areas and will provide the vision, knowledge and strategic leadership needed to drive sustainable private sector growth and job creation in their area.

Ministers also announced today that partnerships are now able to bid for a share of the £4m capacity fund the Prime Minister announced in January. The Fund is intended to help Local Enterprise Partnerships understand the issues facing businesses in their areas. Bids will be considered in light of the different needs identified by each partnership.

The London partnership aims to create new opportunities that build on London's knowledge base and its world-class Higher Education Institutions as well as supporting private sector job creation. It will also pilot and develop proposals for new and innovative ways of raising public finance.

The London Enterprise Partnership will work in the context of the Mayor’s Economic Development Strategy, which has the following overarching aims:
• promote London as the world capital of business;
• ensure that London has the most competitive business environment in the world;
• make London one of the world's leading low carbon capitals;
• increase economic opportunity;
• maximise the return from investment in the 2012 Olympic Games.

Business will have a majority on the Board, which will include business leaders from across London; representatives of London's growth and employment sectors; pan London Business Leadership organisations; 3 Borough Leaders (to be proposed by London Councils); third sector and Higher Education Institutions.

The London partnership will work closely with the Kent, Essex and East Sussex partnership in also driving the growth of the Thames Gateway, through the new locally led Thames Gateway Strategic Group which met for the first time yesterday.

Londoners are already set to benefit from an unprecedented devolution of power from Whitehall under radical new plans in the Localism Bill that will see the city get greater powers over housing, regeneration, economic development, and Olympic legacy.