Government backs Heseltine’s plans for local authority power

Marion Dakers
LOCAL authorities are set to get a say over billions of pounds of funding, after the chancellor endorsed Lord Heseltine’s recent report on stimulating growth.

The 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) across the country will become responsible for pitching spending ideas to a central funding pot from 2015, according to the Autumn Statement yesterday.

LEPs, which bring together local authorities and businesses, will also have the capacity to borrow up to £1.5bn between them at preferential rates, in order to fund infrastructure projects. This is on top of £350m added to the Regional Growth Fund.

George Osborne also supported Heseltine’s call to shake up procurement in Whitehall, saying that a review is due in the new year, though this is likely to face opposition from departments already forced to slash budgets.