The Coalition agreement stated that the Government wants to support the creation of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to replace Regional Development Agencies (RDAs). The Centre for Cities has a track record of supporting more powerful cities and city-regions, and directly-elected mayors. In partnership with IBM, we will be releasing a report this summer on the performance of potential LEP areas like Greater Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham.
RDAs and the whole regional tier are in need of reform. Cities do not have the powers they need to shape their local economies. To tackle these deficiencies the Government has proposed creating LEPs. We support this proposal because it will lead to policy decisions on city economies being made at the right level and will decentralise power away from Whitehall.
However, the implementation of LEPs may raise some challenges. LEPs could lack the powers they need to support the growth of local economies; the public may not see them as sufficiently democratic and accountable; they could overlap with other bodies and city mayors; and the transition to LEPs could take a long time.
Senior Consultant, City Economics at Arup