A Plea to LEP Board Members

Do you ever question the belief that more economic growth is the only route to recovery?

That we can consume our way to a ‘better’ future by simply consuming more stuff, more quickly?

Do you ever consider that perhaps it is time to at least be open to the merits of leading in a different direction?

I am neither anti-capitalist, nor anti-growth but recognise these are double edged swords rather than cure-alls.

Working with Danone recently they introduced me to their compass test of business development, where any change has to meet the challenges of the four compass points.

  • N = Nature – can the proposed development be sustained in a one planet scenario? Does it fit with the laws of nature?
  • S = Social – will it lead to a socially just and improved situation?
  • E = Economic – will we see a return on investment? Usual investment and payback protocols apply and can be flexed
  • W = Wellbeing – will the proposed project increase health and wellbeing for the most people

Yes, the E matters. But not at any cost. So please encourage the LEPs to explore scenarios much more interesting than just the accrual of GDP.

Be more than just mere ‘whipping boys’ for the Treasury, and help us to find a genuine New Deal.


  1. johnpopham says:


    Far be it for me to offer you advice, but, I’m going to any way.

    If I were you I wouldn’t waste time pondering about LEPs. They seem to be irrelevant to me. Repeating all the mistakes of the TECs without even having any funding to spend on their wild projects. I would be happy to be proved wrong, but, possibly the most positive function of LEPs is to keep the dinosaurs occupied in closed meetings in which they exchange weary cliches about their outdated theories of growth and development. If they do achieve this, it will leave the rest of us to go about the task of building the future with a few less obstacles in our way.

    • It is not so much about worrying about the LEPS John, more about trying to raise awareness of how ‘economic leadership’ is being exercised in our communities and where it is taking us…but I agree, important to just get on with doing our own stuff too!

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