The Regions

Local councils and businesses encouraged to form Local Enterprise Partnerships

Now that RDAs will be abolished, the government has invited groups of local councils and business to form Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). LEP partnerships will set local economic priorities for their area, and they will be able to bid for part of the new £1bn Regional Growth Fund. Sadly LEPs will have less funding than RDAs. RDAs have £1.5bn between them and LEPs will be able to bid for part of the £1bn Regional Growth Fund.

This is what Eric Pickles MP said;

We anticipate that local enterprise partnerships will wish to provide the strategic leadership in their areas to set out local economic priorities.
Partnerships will therefore want to create the right environment for business and growth in their areas, by tackling issues such as planning and housing, local transport and infrastructure priorities, employment and enterprise and the transition to the low carbon economy. Supporting small business start-ups will therefore be important. They will want to work closely with universities and further education colleges, in view of their importance to local economies, and with other relevant stakeholders.  In some areas, tourism will also be an important economic driver.  Further details will be set out in the forthcoming White Paper.

To be effective partnerships, business and civic leaders need to work together. We believe this would normally mean an equal representation on the boards of these partnerships and that a prominent business leader should chair the board. W

The governance structures will need to be sufficiently robust and clear to ensure proper accountability for delivery by partnerships.


To be sufficiently strategic, we would expect that partnerships would include groups of upper tier authorities. If it is clearly the wish of business and civic leaders to establish a local enterprise partnership for a functional economic area that matches existing regional boundaries, we will not object.

Going forward
We will publish a White Paper later in the summer, which will set out the Government’s approach to sub-national growth. Legislation to abolish RDAs and enable local enterprise partnerships was announced in the Queen’s speech and is expected to be introduced to Parliament in the autumn.

See the full text


  1. Although I might challenge some of the too ealisy repeated comments on RDAs, I agree with the conclusion of this piece that material funding for projects is extremely unlikely and that Local Enterprise Partnerships do need to be taken seriously as the vehicle/forum for the coming years. It seems to me though that even in the favoured North’, where there has clearly been more cross authority working and collaboration in the urban conurbations of late and strong local economic leadership (e.g. Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield), there is some disarray in establishing the government-business links that the coalition are advocating. With 6 September rapidly approaching, surely the first step for any potential LEP is to prove that business and a local authority grouping really can create a joint understanding of a) what is a functional economic geography and b) that they will talk and listen to each other to understand how both have a role to play in rebalancing the economy’.The first step is to become recognised as an LEP. Without this the coalition will have an easy get-out clause for not allocating funds that may be spared (or re-allocating existing funding streams) in the medium term. How much there is to gain is uncertain, but the potential to lose out is significant.

  2. ONE VOICE for Lancashire

  3. Must be clear on LEPs’ exact roles, responsibilities, powers and funding or just ciphers.

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