Agenda and minutes

Business and Finance Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday 3 November 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: Telford Room, Addenbrooke House, Ironmasters Way, Telford, TF3 4NT

Contact: Kieran Robinson  01952 382061

No. Item


Declarations of Interest




Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 208 KB


RESOLVED – that the minutes of the meeting held on 8 September 2021 be confirmed and signed by the Chair.



Marches Local Enterprise Partnership Update pdf icon PDF 312 KB

To receive the report of the Marches LEP, presented by Mandy Thorn.


Councillor D Wright (Cabinet Member: Economy, Housing, Transport and Infrastructure) and Katherine Kynaston (Director: Housing, Employment & Infrastructure) will also attend for this item.


Members received the presentation of Mandy Thorn (Chair of the Marches LEP Board) and Rachel Laver (Chief Executive Officer, Marches LEP).


The Committee heard that the Marches LEP covered Herefordshire, Shropshire, and Telford & Wrekin. Within this area, Telford was the main driving force for growth across the Marches. For background, business in the Marches was dominated by micro-businesses. The LEP acted as an enabler and facilitator; working with the private sector, academia, and public sector to win bids for funding to drive economic development.


The LEP was governed by a board. It had become, by government mandate, a  company limited by guarantee but still acted very much as a partnership. The board was made up of local authority leaders, business board chairs, and members from higher and further education. All members of the board were company directors and had been since 2019. The LEP was subject to scrutiny from local authority partners and from central government by process of biannual review. There was, in all, significant oversight of the LEP as a body responsible for the proper management of public funds.


In total, the LEP had funded around £43 million in projects in Telford & Wrekin with match funding of a similar amount. This had or will create 2,394 jobs and 3,088 new homes in the Borough. New employment land had been unlocked and would attract businesses and jobs to the area. It was an attractive place to invest with beneficial access to the M54 and quality infrastructure.



The Committee were briefed on the current uncertainty with the future of LEPs nationally  with a review of LEPs announced by the government in spring 2021. The review had been expected to finish in the summer but had been delayed and was now expected to be completed in the New Year. This had an impact on effective planning but the LEP was concentrating on business as usual in the intervening period.


During Covid-19, the LEP had been central to bringing businesses in the region together to present a united voice. The LEP had sought to  coordinate and signpost businesses towards help. The LEP had also lobbied government, putting the voice of market towns and villages forward. Early in the pandemic, the LEP had been able to release funding in support of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, which had been significantly impacted by Covid-19. . £174,000 was also released to reinvigorate the hospitality, leisure, and retail sectors in Telford.


Due to the review from government, and the wait for the white paper on ‘levelling up’, the LEP was operating at risk. It  had received only half of the year’s core funding from Government and was trading on reserves. It was hoped that the other half of core funding would be available before the end of 2021.


The focus was on business as usual but the LEP was in a difficult position.


A discussion followed with Members posing a number of questions:

With £44million allocated to Telford & Wrekin, and with the uncertainty around funding, if  ...  view the full minutes text for item BFSC32


Chair's Update


A workshop and formal meeting were being arranged for December. Members would be contacted once the date was confirmed.


The January budget meetings were to be held on 10, 17, and 20 January 2022.