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Pickles disputes Cable claim over quality of LEP bids

Wed 6 October 2010, 8:34 am

Communities secretary Eric Pickles yesterday flatly contradicted claims from business secretary Vince Cable that only a quarter of local enterprise partnership proposals are 'up to scratch'. (Sourced from Regeneration and Renewal.)
 
Cable made his comments at a Liberal Democrat conference fringe meeting last month, saying that only 15 of the 57 LEP bids received by government were up to scratch, and that the rest would need "a lot of work" to bring them up to standard.
 
But Pickles, questioned yesterday by Regeneration & Renewal at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, gave short shrift to the business secretary’s comments. He said bluntly: "That is simply not true."

The communities secretary’s comments came as 12 of Kent’s 13 backbench Tory MPs wrote an open letter to Cable and Pickles criticising proposals for a joint Kent-Essex LEP.

Reports suggested that the partnership had been suggested after pressure from Pickles, a claim that has been denied by Paul Carter, leader of Conservative-controlled Kent County Council.

But the open letter said: "We believe the intention of creating a super-LEP to save central government money in the short term will in fact harm the people and businesses of Kent in the long term.

"We strongly believe it makes more sense geographically and economically to establish [a] Kent and Medway LEP, and therefore urge you to take into account these points when considering the Kent and Essex proposal."

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