Written evidence from Basingstoke and
1.1 The borough of Basingstoke and Deane
has a strong well-balanced and diverse economy performing well
in knowledge based sectors such as IT, telecommunications, financial
services, a growing R&D sector in bioscience and healthcare
and advanced manufacturing around defence. However in order to
perform well coming out of recession the area will need to address
a number of issues including infrastructure such as transport
and broadband and to ensure its workforce is suitably skilled.
Driving economic prosperity for the area is our first corporate
1.2 Basingstoke and Deane is home to many
major companies including AA, Motorola, MEPC, Sony, Huwawei, Shire,
Sandoz, Barclays Corporate, AXA-Winterthur, Game, Thales, Eli
Lilley, De La Rue, Vitacress and Scott Wilson. Many of whom are
active in our Borough Business Partnership.
1.3 Realising that business crosses administrative
boundaries, in 2008 we joined forces with neighbouring districts,
Hampshire County Council, Hampshire Economic Partnership, SEEDA
and others to form the North Hampshire and M3 Corridor Economic
Board. The board focuses on the key economic issues affecting
business in the area, specifically skills development, infrastructure
improvement and inward investment.
2. THEMES TO
2.1 The North Hampshire and M3 Corridor
Economic Board will be submitting proposals for a Local Enterprise
Partnership (LEP) and the functions that are relevant in this
Supporting innovation and enterprise
Identifying barriers to growth such as
transport, infrastructure and skills and developing actions with
Promoting the area and attracting investment.
However it is important that a LEP deals with
local economic issues and therefore the functions of a LEP should
allow for flexibility to respond. This is illustrated well by
comparing the north and south of Hampshire, where the economic
issues and profile in the Economic Assessment are very different.
2.2 In terms of ensuring value for money,
it makes sense to utilise existing economic structures such as
economic boards and partnerships set-up around Multi-Area Agreements.
Keeping bureaucracy to a minimum would also help to maintain value
for money. In managing our Economic Board in north Hampshire we
have kept our running costs to a minimum by sharing out tasks
between constituent members. Some provide support to the main
board others to the three project groups reporting in to the board.
2.3 Co-ordination between LEPs will be important
for a number of issues such as transport and in the South East
there is an existing network, the South East Diamonds for Investment
and Growth (SEDfIG). The eight functional economic areas making
up the "Diamonds" are
Milton Keynes and Aylesbury Vale.
Oxford and central Oxfordshire.
They account for a disproportionate amount of
GVA within the region and will provide the majority of economic
and housing growth within the south-east in the next few years.
The SEDfIG have a track record of working together
across the South East but also more locally. The "west of
London arc" of Oxford, Reading and North Hampshire has developed
a good working relationship through the SEDfIG and specifically
on projects for example to understand and develop their knowledge
The necessary partnership structures and governance
are in place and it would be efficient to utilise this structure
in co-ordinating and supporting LEPs in the South East.
2.4 The structure of the North Hampshire
and M3 Corridor Economic Board is straight-forward and strategic,
comprising a main board and project groups. Membership of the
main board includes Leaders and Chief Executives of the district
councils and Cabinet Member and Director of Hampshire County Council.
A similar structure for LEPs would allow for local accountability
through local authority leaders and allows for flexibility in
delivering economic projects.
Business involvement is also essential in the
structure and we would again develop this by building on our existing
networks such as our well-established Borough Business Partnership
and our Basingstoke Ambassadors scheme. Working in partnership
with business has helped to deliver broadband improvements in
2.5 In order to ensure clarity, stability
and aid planning a timetable for transfer from RDAs to LEPs needs
to be established. It would also be helpful to have more details
about the process for assessing LEP submissions after 6 September.
2.6 Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council
has good experience of successful E U projects to support the
local economy and is currently a partner in six projects including
Entredi which is about business enterprise and innovation, URBACT
which focuses on recovery from the recession, EcoAdvantage looking
a sustainable business and FLOW supporting older workers to carry
on being economically active. We also have experience of assessing
EU funding proposals.
2.7 Basingstoke and Deane also established
a venture capital fund, 3en to support high growth technology
business and recently set-up a lifeline fund within 3en offering
loans to viable businesses experiencing cash-flow difficulties.
3en has led to job creation and entrepreneurial growth locally.
Functions of LEPs should be flexible
enough to respond to local economic issues.
Value for money can be obtained by keeping
LEPs strategic with a simple structure and governance arrangements,
where possible making use of existing economic boards.
Co-ordination between LEPs in the same
region would be valuable and in the South East there is a ready
made structure in SEDfIG to carry out this function.
Accountability can be achieved through
the involvement of local authority leaders.
A timetable outlining details of transition
from RDAs to LEPs would be helpful.
13 August 2010