Reaction from Colin Skellett, Chairman of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership to the Chancellor’s spending review:

“We have to be pleased that the Chancellor has created a £10bn single local growth fund into which all 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships will be able to bid over the next five years. Whilst we would have preferred a higher figure, we recognise the real cuts that have been made in many Government departments, so it is significant that we are being seen as an important contributor towards future economic growth and this is a step in the right direction.”

“£2bn a year for LEPs, to help stimulate jobs and growth, is less than we thought it might be, but it is £2bn more than there was when we started a couple of years ago. We are demonstrating the effectiveness of this sort of spending in the West of England, which has the lowest unemployment and the highest growth of any core city region in the country.”

“Our tasks now are to ensure we make the strongest possible business case in order that we can access the single funding pot but that we also demonstrate the strength of our partnership to prove we can be trusted at a local level with control over more of the levers that influence how our economy develops. In fact, in many ways, freedom to respond to the particular needs of the West of England may be even more important to our future prosperity than direct funding from central Government.”