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Chance for powers from Whitehall; JANUARY.

RADICAL new plans to put Birmingham at the heart of sweeping changes to local government have been unveiled. Former Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine was in the city yesterday to announce the Greater Birmingham Project - a pilot scheme to put communities at the heart of creating growth by giving them direct access to funds.

In his No Stone Unturned report last year, Lord Heseltine identified as much as PS60 billion of funds that could be given directly to regions through a single pot, rather than spent in Whitehall as they are now.

Greater Birmingham Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) - a collaboration of business and public sector leaders in the region - will oversee a three-month review aimed at implementing the proposals, which are set to kick in in two years time. Lord Heseltine said: "The idea is 'we have got some money - you tell us what you are going to do with it'. The scope in my view is unprecedented."

A project director, Steve Hollis of KPMG, and a steering group has been put in place to work with Lord Heseltine to show the changes could be a success in the region.

The plan is to convince government to give significant funds from its skills, infrastructure, employment, housing, regeneration and business support budgets directly to LEPs throughout the country to manage locally.

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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 19, 2013
Words:230
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