Rural body presses partnership agenda

The emerging local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) need to show a clear plan to deliver for rural economies, according to a government quango.

A Commission for Rural Communities (CRC) report has reviewed how previous economic partnerships have dealt with rural economies.

Suggesting ways forward, the CRC wants data analysed at the lowest spatial level to understand the characteristics of rural economies.

It is also seeking confirmation that rural interests are reflected in the development and implementation of strategies, policies and programmes.

So far, 24 LEPs have been approved by the government. "We would like the new LEPs to show how their work results in equitable and effective support for rural communities and businesses," said CRC executive director Crispin Moor.

"We are calling on DEFRA to champion the needs of rural LEPs and rural areas in LEPs and monitor allocations to ensure fair funding. We are asking the DCLG and the DBIS to ensure the regional growth fund supports rural economic growth such as smaller-scale social environmental and economic investment," he added.

In June, environment secretary Caroline Spelman ann ounced that the commission would be abolished and replaced with a strengthened rural communities policy unit within DEFRA.

Recognising Rural Interests within Local Enterprise Partnerships is available at

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