I am very proud of the Conservative record in Leicestershire. Whilst the opposition parties led by Max Hunt and Simon Galton (I mention Max Hunt first, as it was he who bounced the Lib Dems into scraping together enough signatures for his motion to Council on the 18th April) are falling about themselves engineering political stunts, all this will achieve is to send out the wrong signals to those who view Leicestershire as a good place to do business.
Why do I believe this? The Leicester and Leicestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) was a Conservative idea created to boost the local economy and bring jobs to the County. Crucially, it is business-led and comprises representatives from major business, local authorities, the universities and the voluntary sector. It has been a tremendous success by:
- Securing Government support to establish the Enterprise Zone at the MIRA site in Hinckley, delivering £300m inward investment over 5 years and creating 2,000 local jobs. Specialist engineering and hi-tech motor research know-how is a fast growing sector. I want Leicestershire to be a full player in these industries of the future. This is why I will move heaven and earth developing links with other LEPs and with other local authorities such as Northamptonshire, Coventry and Warwickshire to deliver these opportunities for economic growth.
- Winning £13.3m from the Government’s ‘Growing Places Fund’ to kick-start local infrastructure projects like the Loughborough Inner Relief road, investing in superfast broadband, utility and highway improvements, new homes and offices and better flood defences.
- Supporting a £5m bid from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund to provide the “Wheels to Work” scheme. This scheme helps young people in work and those seeking work to get to their place of employment, study or work experience by giving them motor scooters and is backed by major local businesses such as Caterpillar. There is currently a waiting list to be a part of it.
Conservatives want to expand these ideas to attract more business into priority areas, where there is a clear need to pump-prime the local economy. The Liberal Democrats are happy to claim some of the credit for the work in securing the MIRA investment, but the truth is they were late-comers to the LEP table and they complain that the County Council is ignoring other parts of the County for investment.
David Parsons says: “High profile leaders, be they from the public or private sectors, never waste an opportunity networking with partners and organisations if that could give them the edge over the competition. Securing these inward investment opportunities for Leicestershire is my number one priority. Unlike the Liberal Democrats, I firmly believe putting Leicestershire first and say to them it is time to stop talking Leicestershire down.”