Thursday, October 07, 2010

LEP Update

With a tip of the hat to Allister Hayman at the Local Government Chronicle, it seems that virtually all the West Midlands LEPs will be approved by Vince Cable and Eric Pickles.

The odd ones out are the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent bid, which suffered from disagreements amongst the district councils, with East Staffs, Tamworth and Lichfield throwing their lots in with the Birmingham and Solihull bid - although there is nothing to stop them joining more than one LEP If they so wish. There may be further tweaks coming up, as The Pieman is believed to favour a joint Black Country and Birmingham bid, for once showing wisdom beyond that available to our local authorities. There seems to have been tension between Pickles and Cable over this, as Vince is known to favour more regional models, but Eric prefers them smaller, the merest suggestion of regionalism bringing him out in hives. The other local bid to not make it to the starting grid is the abortive regional bid, which has foundered because of a lack of support.


Fergus said...

I dare say you're probably right that, in an ideal world, Birmingham and the Black Country should be working together. But it's not an ideal world, and I think a grouping (or rather 2 groupings) of the willing is better than one of the unwilling.

I think that, like me, you're not a native of the general area. I also expect that, like me, you are really frustrated at the, apparently deeply historic, divides that so many people still subscribe to. It appears that the narrative seems to be that either Birmingham is trying to bully the other councils, or the other councils are ganging up on Birmingham, depending which side of the fence (or border) you sit.

If you've got any bright ideas as to how to root out this historic mutual distrust, I'd love to hear them, but I suspect you're as perplexed as I am.

PoliticalHack said...

Right on all counts.

Damn, I hate it when we agree.

I wouldn't want to see Birmingham and the Black Country forced together, but I do think that they should come to that conclusion themselves.

Even though I've lived here for two decades, I've yet to come up with any ideas to resolve the eternal divide between Birmingham and the Black Country. Being subsumed into the larger West Midlands Region at least helped ameliorate some of the antipathy.