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Cumbria LEP sets out plans for economic recovery at AGM

Richard Inglewood, Chair of Cumbria LEP

Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP)’s third open Annual General Meeting (AGM) took place recently to update partners on its activities, in line with its commitment to operate to the highest standards of openness and transparency.

Over 120 attendees from the business, public, voluntary and community sector joined the event, which was held via videoconference to comply with current COVID-19 restrictions.

You can view slides from the 2020 AGM here.

The 2020 Annual Report can be downloaded here.

The event opened with an introduction from Lord Inglewood, CLEP Chair, who outlined the progress that CLEP had made over the previous 12 months and some of the challenges and opportunities during the period. He outlined the significant impact that COVID-19 had made to Cumbria’s economy and businesses and the need for CLEP to respond accordingly.

Jim Jackson, Deputy Chair, continued by providing a presentation on CLEP’s investment activity, including the Growth Deal, which is in its final financial year. He welcomed the new Growing our Potential programme that was providing grant support direct to businesses. He concluded by outlining that he was keen to see a successor to the Growth Deal announced as soon as possible.

Peter Allen MBE, Emma Porter and Steve Cole then provided presentations on their activities as CLEP Board members during the year, which provided a flavour of the breadth of CLEP’s activities.

In terms of governance assurance, Cllr Bill Wearing provided positive feedback from the LEP Scrutiny Board, which is made up of representatives from all seven Local Authorities in Cumbria, who come together to independently scrutinise CLEP.

Nigel Wilkinson, Chair of CLEP’s Finance, Audit and Resources Committee provided further reassurance, presenting the organisation’s first audited accounts. He confirmed that going concern status had been confirmed for 12 months from the date that the accounts were signed. Nigel was pleased to report that there were no material weaknesses in the accounting and internal control systems and no significant findings from the audit or unadjusted items for the auditors to report.

Attendees were then provided with a presentation by Jo Lappin, CLEP’s Chief Executive, on the work of the Business and Economic Response and Recovery Group (BERRG) in developing the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and Restart, Reboot, Rethink – A Plan for Cumbria’s Economic Recovery. She outlined the economic impact of COVID-19, the latest forecasts in relation to recovery and the plans to capitalise on Cumbria’s unique opportunities to support economic recovery.

CLEP’s ongoing commitment to Diversity and Inclusion was confirmed by Sarah Swindley, who was pleased to update attendees about the formation of the Futures Forum, which brings together 18-35 year olds to make sure that CLEP is considering the interests of Cumbria’s younger people. Sarah outlined the strong progress on gender equality in its governance structure and the commitment to increase Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) representation, going forward. Importantly, CLEP’s commitment to inclusive growth was reiterated and the increased focus on this as a result of the pandemic.

The event closed with a Question and Answer session with Board members responding to a wide range of issues raised by attendees.

Cumbria LEP Chair Lord Inglewood said: “The Annual General Meeting is an important date in the LEP’s calendar, providing all of our partners and stakeholders with the opportunity to review the LEP’s activities and ask the Chair, Board and Executive any questions relating to our business.

“CLEP was really pleased that so many of our partners took the time to join us and hear about what has been achieved over the last twelve months, our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and how we are working with our businesses and partners to deliver Cumbria’s economic recovery.

“We will continue to work with all of our partners to deliver on these recovery priorities over the coming months.”

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