Partnership to support business

A NEW economic partnership led by Hertfordshire County Council aims to support businesses and residents through the recession and ensure long term prosperity. It will replace Herts Prosperity, the current economic partnership for the county which is losin

A NEW economic partnership led by Hertfordshire County Council aims to support businesses and residents through the recession and ensure long term prosperity.

It will replace Herts Prosperity, the current economic partnership for the county which is losing its core funding from government and will cease to exist from April.

Leader of Hertfordshire County Council and the new partnership, Robert Gordon, said: "The end of the Herts Prosperity organisation will not signal the end of prosperity in Hertfordshire.

"Herts Prosperity has done a good job in the past and we must build on that to ensure we have a strong focus on the Hertfordshire economy at this critical time.

"We are looking forward to working with a wide range of partners and the business community to breathe new life into the county's economy. Hertfordshire needs to promote itself as a good place for business to encourage investment, growth and entrepreneurship."

David Lloyd, executive member for economic well-being, continued: "Throughout the 1990s, the Hertfordshire economy was buoyant and looked after itself. However, there is evidence that the county's economic downturn is moving at a faster rate than the rest of the region and we need to act now.

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"We are relishing the enhanced role local government is now playing at the frontline in the battle for economic recovery. Together with our partners, we are forging closer links with the business community to understand more their views and needs.

"This co-ordinated approach should not only lead us on the road to recovery, but ensure we make the most of Hertfordshire's wealth of talent and resources for many years to come."

The partnership will consist of representatives from the county and district councils, University of Hertfordshire, Business Link, Herts Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the East of England Development Agency, colleges of further education, Learning and Skills Council, Job Centre Plus, Connexions/careers service, the voluntary sector, local business groups including the Herts Business Forum, and local enterprise agencies.

It will be supported by the county council's economic development budget of �180,000-200,000 a year, and secondments, jointly-funded posts, research capacity and match funding from the University of Herts and Herts Chamber of Commerce equivalent to �240,000 a year. Funding is also anticipated from the district councils and EEDA. The partnership will search for sources of external funding too.

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