Prisk on North West tour

Business Minister Mark Prisk is spending two days in Manchester, Cheshire and Liverpool to discuss plans for local economic growth and business support.

On Thursday, he met with the local enterprise partnerships for Greater Manchester and Cheshire & Warrington.

At the meeting with the Cheshire & Warrington partnership, the Minister announced that the Government had confirmed Christine Gaskell as the chairman and the other 13 members of the board from the public and private sectors.

While in Manchester, he gave a speech to the North West Business Forum, before going on to visit EA technology's site near Ellesemere Port and then to a meeting with the Knowsley Chamber of Commerce.

On Friday, Prisk will be in Liverpool for a meeting with the Liverpool City Region local enterprise partnership.

He is taking part in two business roundtables: one on exports, trade and investment, and another on how Liverpool is beating the recession.

Prisk said: "Local enterprise partnerships are key to enabling local communities to thrive and will play a very significant role in boosting growth. The partnerships I've met in the last two days are very good example of partnerships that have got off the ground quickly. They are all planning their work on their priorities, which include rebalancing the economy from the public to the private sector, by addressing skills, business support and infrastructure.

"We want to hand over power from Whitehall to local people, local businesses and local communities – the people who are best placed to drive forward change for the better in their areas."

A total of 31 LEPs were approved across England and each are now working on plans for how they will proceed, communicating with businesses in their areas.

Cheshire & Warrington is the sixth local enterprise partnership to have formally confirmed its chairman and board, and many are operating with interim boards and chairs in place.

The partnerships bring together local business and civic leaders, working to support their local economy.

The Government said they operate within a geography that reflects natural economic areas and will provide the vision, knowledge and strategic leadership needed to drive sustainable private sector growth and job creation in their area.

LEPs are set to replace regional development agencies which are in the process of being wound down and will close in March next year.

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