The government set out its overarching policy on local economic growth in the 2010 White Paper Local Growth: realising every place’s potential. This inquiry covers progress made by government in providing focused investment and supporting a shift in responsibility for local economic growth from central government to the local level. We will look at whether departments are implementing policies to deliver local economic growth in a way which is likely to achieve the government’s objectives and deliver value for money, focusing on Local Enterprise Partnerships, City Deals, Enterprise Zones, Growing Places Fund and the Regional Growth Fund.
The government established the Regional Growth Fund in 2010 with the aim of stimulating private sector employment and growth, particularly in areas that depended more on the public sector. Since the Committee last reported on the Fund in September 2012, a third and fourth bidding round have been completed and two more have been announced. The Fund is also now a major spending and delivery programme in its own right.
Funding has increased to some £3.2 billion, and around 300 projects and programmes are now operational and the associated financial and operational management is a major challenge for the Departments involved. The Fund is the largest single component of the government’s local economic growth programme.