So with the South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA) set to be consigned to the dustbin, we are now asking ourselves – what next?
Tough times for SWRDA. Last week the Government confirmed its intentions to scrap the RDAs in preference to setting up Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in its Budget announcements, and this week it formalised this by writing to Councils and business leaders. It will be wound down by March 2012, with the loss of 320 jobs.
So how exactly should this all pan out? There is a call and general acceptance that the business community should be at the very heart of the LEPs.
For its part, the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce is consulting with members as well as Cornwall Council.
It is a time of opportunity for Cornwall. There has been much criticism in the past that SWRDA was just too geographically disparate.
There is an appetite for Cornwall to have much greater control over its economic destiny and go it alone, but in turn could this lead to a danger that our voice will too easily drowned out by larger regions?
Rather, should a future LEP bring Cornwall together with Devon, and perhaps even parts of Dorset, or would this be ignoring the Duchy’s unique needs? There is a debate to be had, let us know your thoughts.
The new Coalition clearly wants to be a listening Government, or to at least give the impression that it is listening, even if its ‘Your Freedom’ initiative is, let’s be honest, patronising and ridiculous.
But as far as the LEPs go, we need to have our say now, or it will be an opportunity lost.