New LEP Chairman Visits Islands

The new chairman of the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is on a fact-finding mission on our islands’ today.

Chris Pomfret has been recruited to head up the LEP, which will mix public and private sector expertise in driving projects to boost our economy.

When it is officially launched next April, the LEP will replace the Regional Development Agency and help drive strategy in areas such as transport and communications, important issues for our islands

What Are LEPs?

Local Enterprise Partnerships, or LEPs, are privately-led organisations that work to secure and channel investment into their areas, creating increased employment and financial growth.

The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP was one of the twenty-four LEPs across England and Wales that were approved last October by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles.

The LEPs can bid for Government capital funding for specific projects through the Regional Growth Fund, which will allocate £1.4 billion between 2011 and 2014.

Chris, a businessman with board-level experience at Unilever, will be briefed on the opportunities and challenges for Scilly’s economic development.

He’ll see some Local Action Group-funded projects on St Martins which are recognised for adding value to flowers exported to the mainland.

 

Superfast Broadband

 

In a separate meeting in Truro, the future of European funding for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has been discussed.

Our Council and Cornwall’s put forward their vision for the region to Communities Minister, Baroness Hanham.

She was told what a difference superfast broadband could make to the region – we’re set to get that next year with the funding of a contract to lay an undersea cable to replace our microwave link.

That should bring Scilly surfers’ speeds up to 100 Mbps with a new, dedicated connection from the BT exchange and up to 10 Mbps if you rely on the existing wiring into premises.

Philip Hygate has invited the Baroness to Scilly to learn more about our islands’ needs first hand.