A LOCAL Enterprise Partnership that has been working across Hampshire and Surrey for more than a decade has announced that it will transfer its responsibilities to the respective county councils. 

Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (EM3 LEP) will transfer its economic development functions and responsibilities to Hampshire County Council and Surrey County Council from April 1.  

This follows the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s March 2023 Budget statement where he announced the integration of LEP functions into upper-tier local authorities. 

EM3 LEP chairman Michael Queen said: “Since 2011, EM3 LEP has worked tirelessly in driving growth, innovation and prosperity for our region, through a rich partnership mix encompassing businesses, local authorities, universities, FE colleges, schools, investors and sector intermediaries such as Space South Central.

Andover Advertiser: EM3EM3 (Image: EM3)

"Since the Government confirmed its intention to transfer LEP functions to upper-tier local authorities, our primary focus has been to ensure both a smooth transition and a strong foundation for Hampshire and Surrey county councils to seamlessly build on.

"I would like to thank members of the EM3 Board, our dedicated staff and our partners across the region for working together over many years to deliver a complex portfolio of programmes and services, that has positioned the region with a strong national and global reputation.”

Since 2011, EM3 has played a key part in the growth and prosperity of the region, covering central and north Hampshire and west Surrey, creating jobs, boosting skills and helping businesses to thrive.  It has helped attract more than £730m in investment to the region – including £54m invested in digital technologies and £21m invested in low carbon initiatives - as well as creating or safeguarding more than 11,000 jobs.

It was also instrumental in attracting more than £320m in foreign investment and securing more than £250m in Government funding for the region.

EM3 managing director Stephen Martin said: “I am immensely proud of what EM3 LEP has achieved over the past 13 years.

"During this time, it has always been our mission to bring together business, education and local government leaders, to drive sustainable economic growth for the EM3 region. 

"Our positive engagement with both county councils during this transition period demonstrates their commitment to maintaining productive, highly skilled and innovative local economies, building on EM3’s legacy. I am confident that the businesses and economies of Hampshire and Surrey will continue to flourish under these new arrangements for driving local economic development.”