Tag Archives: Yorkshire Forward

Clegg to visit city to launch council enterprise deal

Deputy PM Nick Clegg

Deputy Prime Minister and Hallam MP Nick Clegg is to visit Sheffield tomorrow to help launch a new scheme intended to bring the council and local businesses together.

Mr Clegg will visit the Town Hall to help launch the new Sheffield Local Enterprise Partnership, introduced at last night’s meeting of the full council. The LEP is intended as a replacement for regional development agency Yorkshire Forward which is to be abolished.

He will also meet with local MPs, councillors and business and voluntary group leaders for the Sheffield First Partnership leadership summit at Mercure St. Pauls Hotel.

At last night’s meeting, Cllr Scriven, who has been involved in the founding of the LEP, said he hoped the replacement of Yorkshire Forward with a more private sector inclusive project would remove beaurocracy and stimulate growth.

He said, “If this city is going to move forward over the next ten years that growth is going to have to come from the private sector. That means that his city is going to have to be business friendly, it’s going to have to be business smart and it’s going to have to have a vision about how it works for or with business.

“It’s not going to be about Town Hall knows best, it’s going to be about the business working with the council and different councils working throughout Derbyshire and South Yorkshire, to actually get the right kind of approach.”

The proposals were largely welcomed by both sides of the chamber, although Labour councillors stopped short of giving the plans their full support. Cllr Tony Damms pointed out that some in the private sector are reluctant to get involved.

“They’re against it because they don’t feel they’ve been consulted” he said, “and they think it’s a bit rich to call on a set of proposals as major as these, and claim that the business community’s on side when they’ve not even been asked. They’ve been ignored.”

He went on to voice uncertainty about whether the LEP would be the shot in the arm that Mr Scriven says it will, “We don’t feel we can support the scrapping of the regional development agencies, such as Yorkshire Forward, and their replacement with the Local Enterprise Partnerships, because we don’t know how they will work.” He said, “We don’t know if it will stimulate the economy, and we don’t know if it’ll prioritise certain things that won’t help this city. We might be worse off with this option.”

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Sheffield in Westminster – w/c 26th July 2010

We all see plenty of the Rt. Hon. member for Sheffield Hallam on News 24, but what of Sheffield’s other MPs? Here in a taster of what will (hopefully) be a regular feature after the summer recess, we’ll take a look at what your elected representatives are getting up to in the big smoke, as well as the less well covered items from Mr Clegg’s agenda.

Tuesday saw an exchange between David Blunkett and Nick Clegg over voter registration during Deputy Prime Ministers’ Questions.

Following a question from Southend Conservative MP David Amess on the effectiveness of voter registration, Mr Blunkett suggested that the proposed changes to constituency boundaries are not as fair as they are seem to be. The equalisation of constituency sizes in based on the electoral register. This raises concerns because high numbers of 16-19 year olds, private tenants, and black and ethnic minority people, and inner city residents are not registered to vote.

Mr Blunkett said,

“Perhaps the Deputy Prime Minister would turn his mind to the reality of what is about to happen with the boundary changes that we have been discussing. Is it not a fact that this is a straight gerrymander, and that if he meant what he said, he would delay the boundary changes until there was a full 100% compulsory register based on the reality of where people actually live so that we do not end up with the distortion of taking away seats in inner-city areas?”

To which Mr Clegg replied,

“The right hon. Gentleman talks about straight facts; here are some straight facts. Last December, Islington North’s electorate was 66,472. Just 10 miles away, East Ham’s electorate was 87,809. It cannot be right to have constituencies in which the worth of people’s votes is so very different from place to place. Fairness is a simple principle that should operate in our democracy.”

Earlier in the debate, Mr Clegg was questioned by Blackpool Labour MP Gordon Marsden on his commitment to localism, following the coalition’s abolition of regional development agencies, such as Yorkshire Forward, which employs 450 staff.

Mr Clegg said,

“I am interested that the hon. Gentleman should think that the abolition of the regional development agencies and Government offices is somehow a blow against localism. Our view is that the Government offices had become a representation of Whitehall in the regions, rather than a voice for the regions in Whitehall. Equally, some RDAs do a good job, but he knows as well as I do that many local communities do not identify with regional development agencies. That is why we were right to say that it was up to local communities to come together with the private sector and others to create local enterprise partnerships, which are genuinely representative of what local communities want.”

With Parliament having risen on Tuesday for the summer recess, it’s been a short week. If, however, you fancy some additional reading, crossbench peer Nicholas Le Poer Trench, 9th Earl of Clancarty, 8th Marquess of Heusden, spoke about the time he spent on income support in Sheffield in the 1980s, during a Lords debate on poverty last Thursday. Worth a glance.