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Local Enterprise Partnerships (Devolution)

Volume 580: debated on Tuesday 13 May 2014

2. What discussions he has had with the Cheshire and Warrington local enterprise partnership on devolving powers and responsibilities from central Government. (903979)

I met the board members of Cheshire and Warrington local enterprise partnership, including Christine Gaskell and Howard Hopwood, and the council leaders of Cheshire east, Cheshire west and Chester, to discuss their strategic economic plan on 19 March. We are considering their proposals in their plan and expect to make an announcement on the growth deal in July.

One project being promoted by the Cheshire and Warrington LEP is electrification of the west coast main line from Crewe to Chester and beyond into north Wales. Does my right hon. Friend agree that that and other such proposals show the importance of LEPs acting as strong local champions for critical infrastructure projects?

My hon. Friend is right, and he is exactly such a strong local champion. As a result of his impressive campaign, that proposal features very strongly in the Cheshire and Warrington strategic plan. I know that it has also attracted attention from Sir David Higgins and his report on HS2, which mentions the case for further improvements east and west, so he is doing a good job. We will be considering those plans over the next few months, but he has made his point very forcefully today.