By Daniel Hunter

Business Minister Mark Prisk has today (Wednesday) named Gloucestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) as a flagship trailblazer for retail.

The LEP — run by economic development company GFirst — will develop and pilot a range of retail initiatives such as Portas Review recommendations and those that will emerge from the Government’s Retail Growth Strategy.

In addition, it will share sector expertise with other LEPs and make recommendations to businesses and Government on the work that is taking place in the retail sector.

“Retail is the largest private sector employer in the UK, providing jobs to around 2.9 million people and contributing over £290 billion to the economy every year," Business Minister Mark Prisk said.

“I’m pleased to name Gloucestershire LEP as a key partner in supporting the Government’s retail agenda. The LEP already has a strong retail sector forum, with very experienced retailers and retail property experts, so I am confident it will generate a wealth of valuable lessons that other local areas can then apply.”

Diane Savory, Chair of Gloucestershire LEP, added: “We are pleased that Gloucestershire’s great work within the retail sector has been recognised by the Government and will be working with a range of partners to ensure that we get the right results.

“We have some fantastic retail stories in the county and we want to ensure that with our hard work and knowledge that will continue. This is a real opportunity for us to show how effective pathfinders can be.”

The Business Minister made the announcement this morning at the Retail Week Conference, where he also reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to supporting the retail sector by cutting red tape, helping high streets compete and improving the skills base.

There he outlined the Government’s plan to create a simpler, single consumer bill of rights in place of the current 12 different sets of consumer legislation.

The Minister added: “It’s important that businesses get the support they need to remove red tape and protect their livelihoods so they can get on with the task at hand — to create new jobs and support growth for the UK economy.”

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