By Francesca James

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has written to the Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles MP, to encourage Government to ensure the partnerships have proper business representation as the deadline for local councils to submit plans for Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) closed this week.

The Government has received 59 proposals in total, some of which will be very strong. However, the FSB has concerns that in some areas, business engagement has not reflected the Government's call that businesses be fully involved in developing the proposals. Small and micro businesses are the drivers of the local economy and it is imperative that their views are heard and properly represented on any LEP.

The FSB has urged the Government to ensure that where LEP proposals put forward have not been properly backed by business, that it stands firm and does not give the green light to continue until a clear vision for doing so is set out.

Mike Cherry, Policy Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said:

"Through our regional offices we have developed excellent relationships with local authorities, which give us a strong perspective on how LEPs should be run.

"The Government will undoubtedly have received many strong proposals, but we are concerned that in some of the proposals submitted there has been a lack of proper business engagement.

"We are today urging the Government to ensure that where there has been insufficient business input into the proposals that they are asked to go away and work further with business to set out a plan with enterprise involved.

"The FSB is the only national business organisation that is truly member-led and it is vital that our members - the local businesses supporting the local economy - have their interests properly represented."