About GFirst LEP
GFirst LEP is a Local Enterprise Partnership set up by central government to create job opportunities for thousands of people and to promote economic growth in the county, It is based in Gloucester, England.
Latest GFirst LEP News
Mar 20, 2023
Gloucestershire business leaders slam government over LEP plans Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced the government was 'minded' to withdraw funding for local enterprise partnerships from next year and transfer their business support roles to councils Group 28 Sign up to FREE email alerts from BusinessLive - South West - your daily regional round-up of latest headlines, comment and analysis Invalid emailSomething went wrong, please try again later. Sign Up We use your sign-up to provide content in the ways you've consented to and improve our understanding of you. This means that we may include adverts from us and third parties based on our knowledge of you. We also may change the frequency you receive our emails from us in order to keep you up to date and give you the best relevant information possible. As always you can unsubscribe at any time. More info Group 28 Business leaders in Gloucestershire have described plans to withdraw central support for local enterprise partnerships (LEP) as “disappointing” and “mind blowing”. During last week’s Budget, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced the government was looking to “empower” democratically elected local leaders to deliver the functions of LEPs in the future, as part of its ‘levelling up’ agenda. Mr Hunt said it was therefore “minded” to withdraw state funding for LEPs from April 2024. The government will now consult on the proposals before confirming a decision, with an updated policy position to confirm the next steps “by the summer”. The vice chair of Gloucester-based GFirstLEP Ian Mean, described the announcement as a “death knell” for the partnership between local businesses and local government, created in 2011. Mr Mean told BusinessLive: “To say the least, this news is very disappointing—that’s to put it mildly after ten years of supporting business and infrastructure transformation in Gloucestershire. “The news hit us on the very day that all seven of our local authorities in the county agreed unanimously to fund our work for the next year. He added: “We are already integrating our operations with Gloucestershire County Council and it is working well. But to suddenly have this pronouncement from the Chancellor was something of a kick in the teeth.” Mr Mean said GFirstLEP, whose board and advisory sector members are all unpaid volunteers, had received a questionnaire from the government, to be completed in four weeks, asking for it to detail all of its operations. Mr Mean said: “It’s as though the government are not aware of what GFirst LEP were doing after ten years. Mindblowing.” GFirst LEP claims to have successfully bid for more than £113m of funding for new infrastructure in the county, including the creation of the local Growth Hub, the Transport Hub in Gloucester and the construction skills accelerator AccXel Centre in Cinderford. The LEP said it had also helped to secure new investments into Gloucestershire Airport, Hartpury University and Hartpury College, the Royal Agricultural University, the Elmbridge Court roundabout, Five Valleys Shopping Centre in Stroud. In a note to Gloucestershire MPs the chair of GFirstLEP Ruth Dooley said: “As the independent business voice for Gloucestershire, we have no other agenda besides helping our county be the very best place to live and work”. Ms Dooley added: “Our work will now focus on ensuring a smooth transition over to Gloucestershire County Council and we hope that none of the key assets of GFirst LEP, including the LEP Board, the business groups and the incredibly loyal and hard-working staff, will be lost and that an appropriate legacy remains.” Reacting on social media, Neill Ricketts, the co-founder and former chief executive of Gloucestershire-based graphene firm Versarien said: “Really disappointed to hear this news, having been a non-exec director for GFirstLEP for eight years and seen the impact business working with local government could have, really disappointed with [the] government.” Read next:
GFirst LEP Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
When was GFirst LEP founded?
GFirst LEP was founded in 1994.
Where is GFirst LEP's headquarters?
GFirst LEP's headquarters is located at The Growth Hub, Oxstalls Campus, Oxstalls Lane, Gloucester.