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County and city take steer on support for business and economic growth

Businesses across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent will have a voice on a national level through a new joint committee set up by the county and city councils – also ensuring they have expert support and guidance.

The councils will take on the responsibilities of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership when its operations end in April.

It includes the running of the business advice and guidance organisation, the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub, the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Careers Hub and the newly formed Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Local Visitor Economy Partnership (LVEP).

The growth hub provides expert advice and guidance to small and medium sized businesses, as well as giving them routes to funding, while the careers hub connects schools with businesses. The LVEP is one of just 40 in the country and aims to grow and sustain the tourism and hospitality sector locally, regionally and nationally. It is funded by the county and city councils, as well as all eight district and borough councils.

Current LEP funds will be transferred to the county council and ringfenced for the growth hub, careers hub and LVEP, with any decisions on their use being made jointly by both councils.

Staffordshire County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economy and skills Philip White said:

“Ensuring our businesses are at the heart of the conversation when local authorities make decisions that affect them is a priority to the county council and together with colleagues at Stoke-on-Trent City Council we will ensure that we build on the foundations put in place by the LEP.

“Through our new joint committee we will also be a strong voice for businesses across our area, with a focus on securing funding for infrastructure development and future economic growth, both from government and private investors.

“The committee will steer the work of the growth hub, careers hub and the newly established Local Visitor Economy Partnership, which will champion the county and city across the UK and internationally.”

Stoke-on-Trent City Council leader Jane Ashworth said: “We are keen to ensure this new chapter in the way we work with the county council and businesses across the city and county will result in a stronger local economy and increasing opportunities for local people to benefit.”

The new joint committee is set to be approved by the county council’s cabinet at its meeting next Wednesday March 20.


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