Requesting a National Audit Office investigation into the LEP following new conflict of interests concerns
I have written in my capacity as the Member of Parliament for North East Cambridgeshire to the Comptroller and Auditor General of the National Audit Office, Sir Amyas Morse, asking for an investigation to be launched into the governance of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the Cambridge City Deal.
I have also written to the Government Minister responsible for LEPs, Andrew Percy MP, and to the Chairs of two of Parliament’s most powerful select committees, the Public Accounts Committee and Treasury Select Committees, calling on them to also investigate the LEP.
Further research has identified a number of potential conflicts of interest regarding multi-million pound contracts linked to key LEP Board Members. There are also questions regarding how investment decisions have been reached by the LEP Board and its sub-committees, and how close links between the LEP and a small number of developers have been managed.
There are also outstanding questions regarding serious allegations made by the LEP against their Accountable Body, Cambridgeshire County Council, and made against Fenland District Council. These allegations remain unresolved and now need to be formally investigated by external parties.
In the last Parliament I spent four years as a member of the Public Accounts Committee reviewing the value for money of a wide range of Government spending. I regard the issues identified in the attached paper as serious and worrying. It is clear that the response from the LEP Board to date has been completely inadequate.
The Government is due to transfer a further £37.6 million to the LEP in April 2017, together with further funding to the Cambridge City Deal. In light of the concerns over governance I have identified, and given that the Government is reviewing Local Enterprise Partnerships as part of its industrial strategy, it is timely that both the National Audit Office and Parliament’s Select Committees now examine the conduct of the LEP.
Below is my letter to Sir Amyas, and my paper (CLICK HERE), which is the third this year on the LEP.
I have always made it clear that I will continue to speak up for Fenland regardless of whether this involves challenging influential figures in our area. The evidence shows Fenland has been let down by the LEP. It is time that the LEP Board is held to account.