Government will end LEP funding

By Ged Henderson

04 Aug 2023

LEP

Government funding of Lancashire’s Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) will come to an end next April, it was announced today. 

The government says instead it will support upper tier local councils and, where there is a devolution deal, combined authorities to take on the functions currently delivered by England’s 36 LEPs. 

Those functions include business representation, strategic economic planning and the delivery of government programmes. 

Debbie Francis, who chairs the LEP, described the government’s decision to cease its funding as “disappointing”. 

She added: “The need for business collaboration with local authorities remains crucial to enable the delivery of economic growth and prosperity in Lancashire.”  

And she went on: “We are working closely with our public and private sector partners to ensure there remains a strong business voice, which builds on the LEP’s significant expertise, experience, and legacy, that will help inform Lancashire’s future economic strategy.” 

A letter from levelling up minister Dehanna Davison to LEP chairs, combined authority mayors, local authority leaders and the mayor of London was made public today. It spells out the government’s plans. 

It revealed that the government will provide “some revenue funding” to local and combined authorities in 2024-25 to support them in delivering the functions currently delivered by LEPs.  

However, funding beyond 2024-25 is subject to “future spending review decisions”. 

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced in his March Budget that the government was looking at transferring the responsibilities of LEPs to local authorities. 

That was followed by “an information gathering exercise” by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), which led to today’s announcement. 

In her letter, the minister said: “From April 2024, the government’s sponsorship and funding of LEPs will cease. The government will now support local and combined authorities to take on the functions currently delivered by LEPs.  

“Where not already delivered by a combined authority, or in areas where a devolution deal is not yet agreed, the government expects these functions to be exercised by upper tier local authorities, working in collaboration with other upper tier local authorities over functional economic areas as appropriate.  

“The information gathering exercise identified overlap between some of the functions being discharged by LEPs, local authorities and combined authorities, as well as confirming that there is already a high level of integration of LEP functions in Mayoral Combined Authority areas.  

“The exercise also highlighted the different perceived levels of benefit and engagement between LEPs and local authorities.  

“The government’s view is that there is likely to be scope for greater join-up, efficiencies, and clarity for the private sector by these functions being discharged within Mayoral Combined Authorities, devolution deal areas and upper tier local authorities, working together as appropriate.”  

There are three upper tier local authorities in Lancashire – the county council, Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen. They are currently involved in talks with the government aimed at sealing a devolution deal. 

The minister added: “The government remains committed to our goal that by 2030, every area in England that wants a devolution deal will have one.  

“By empowering local democratically elected leaders to deliver these key local growth functions from April 2024, we are accelerating the integration process set out in the Levelling Up White Paper.”  

Tim Oliver, who chairs the County Council’s Network (CCN), said: “Today’s decision by the government is a decisive one and very welcome, drawing a line under recent uncertainty and allows us to get on with integrating Local Enterprise Partnership functions into upper-tier councils and combined authorities.” 

He added: “While the government have clearly set out that LEP functions should be transferred to upper-tier councils, it still allows LEPs to continue to operate independently without government support.  

“While recognising these are private enterprises which the government cannot abolish, this could create duplication and confusion locally, and therefore they should only continue to function following consultation with the relevant upper-tier council.” 

Lancashire’s LEP, a strategic collaboration between business, universities and local councils, was formed in 2011, with a remit to direct economic growth and drive job creation. Since then it has played a central role in coordinating the county’s economic priorities. 

Debbie Francis, LEP chair, said: “While the government’s decision to cease the funding of Local Enterprise Partnerships from April 2024 is disappointing, the need for business collaboration with local authorities remains crucial to enable the delivery of economic growth and prosperity in Lancashire.  

“The business community’s sector-specific and unique industry insights will help to ensure investment and policy interventions will have maximum impact which will benefit both residents and businesses as Lancashire realises its economic growth ambitions. 

“As such, we are working closely with our public and private sector partners to ensure there remains a strong business voice, which builds on the LEP’s significant expertise, experience, and legacy, that will help inform Lancashire’s future economic strategy.” 

Enjoyed this? Read more from Ged Henderson

Latest news

1

PR agency wins third consecutive award for public sector work Viva Wins Third Public Sector Award

PR agency wins third consecutive award for public sector work

20 Jun 2024

2

Burnley aerospace firm eyes global growth with new CFO Rob Smith Of Velocity Composites

Burnley aerospace firm eyes global growth with new CFO

20 Jun 2024

3

Nybble makes senior client relationships hire Charlotte Knowles Nybble

Nybble makes senior client relationships hire

20 Jun 2024

4

TCB Designs supplies local businesses with illuminated signage TCB Article for June 2.png.png

TCB Designs supplies local businesses with illuminated signage

20 Jun 2024

5

WHN strengthens family law team in Clitheroe Zahra Hanif Whn Solicitors

WHN strengthens family law team in Clitheroe

20 Jun 2024

Lbv116 Ltb Strip980
Background image for hub sign up block

LBV Hub

Leverage Lancashire Business View platforms

Post your news
Post your events
Post your offers
Build your network
Improve your SEO
Gain coverage in the magazine
Sign-up
Events
RISE - The Academy for Female Leaders and Managers
WENDY BOWERS RISE Illustrstion copy.jpg.jpg
LBV Hub Seminars
11 Jun 2024 - 04 Dec 2024

RISE - The Academy for Female Leaders and Managers

East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, Clayton le Moors, BB5 5JR

09:00 - 16:30

Free 4 Week Growth Ignition Coaching Programme
UCLan Primary logo RKE.png.png
LBV Hub Seminars
19 Jun 2024 - 03 Jul 2024

Free 4 Week Growth Ignition Coaching Programme

Online, Preston, PR1 2HE

12:00 - 13:30

Business Networking in Lancaster - BNI Castle
EVENT LISTING BNI Castle.png.png
LBV Hub Networking
20 Jun 2024

Business Networking in Lancaster - BNI Castle

Vale of Lune RUFC, Powder House Lane, Lancaster, LA1 2TT

06:45 - 08:30

THE ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS COMEDY DINNER SHOW
AbFab Social Post.jpg.jpg
LBV Hub Social
20 Jun 2024 - 20 Jun 2024

THE ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS COMEDY DINNER SHOW

Crow Wood Hotel & Spa Resort, Burnley, BB12 0RT

18:30 - 23:00

Business Networking in Burnley - BNI Kudos
EVENT LISTING BNI Kudos.png.png
LBV Hub Networking
20 Jun 2024

Business Networking in Burnley - BNI Kudos

Prairie Sports Village, Windemere Avenue, Burnley, BB10 2FU

06:45 - 08:30

Business Networking in Preston - BNI Brunch
EVENT LISTING SIZING Brunch .png.png
LBV Hub Networking
21 Jun 2024

Business Networking in Preston - BNI Brunch

Samlesbury Preston Hotel, Preston New Road, Preston, PR5 0UL

09:30 - 11:00

June Preston Freelancer Meet-Up and Coworking
Screenshot 2024-06-13 at 14.03.18.png.png
LBV Hub Networking
21 Jun 2024 - 21 Jun 2024

June Preston Freelancer Meet-Up and Coworking

Society1 Coworking Space, Preston, PR1 3LT

10:00 - 12:00

Moonlight & Memories Walk 2024, St Catherine's Hospice
Moonlight2024.jpg.jpg
LBV Hub Fundraisers
22 Jun 2024 - 22 Jun 2024

Moonlight & Memories Walk 2024, St Catherine's Hospice

St Catherine's Hospice, Preston, PR5 5XU

18:00 - 23:00

Yellow Day 2024 St Catherine's Park
YRD 2024_TV screen_V02.jpg.jpg
LBV Hub Fundraisers
23 Jun 2024

Yellow Day 2024 St Catherine's Park

St Catherine's Hospice, Preston, Lancashire

10:45 - 16:00

Chamber Breakfast Networking
Chamber Logo1.png.png
LBV Hub Networking
23 Jun 2024

Chamber Breakfast Networking

Whitewells Catering Supplies, Heysham, LA3 2XE

08:00 - 10:00

Adult Mental Health First Aid - Online Course
Youth MHFA.png.png
LBV Hub Seminars
25 Jun 2024

Adult Mental Health First Aid - Online Course

MS Teams, N/A, N/A

10:00 - 12:30

Business Networking in Chorley - BNI Endeavour
EVENT LISTING SIZING Endeavour.png.png
LBV Hub Networking
25 Jun 2024

Business Networking in Chorley - BNI Endeavour

Oak Royal, Bury Lane, Chorley, PR6 8SW

06:30 - 08:30

Advertise with us

Reaching 50,000 members, our print, digital and event platforms offer a fantastic way to raise your business profile and help you grow.

Find out more LBV116 Online Graphic
Subscribe now

Weekly news bulletin