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UK Government decides to bring Local Enterprise Partnerships to an end

09 August 2023

On 4 August 2023, the Levelling Up Minister, Dehenna Davidson MP, wrote to the boards of the remaining Local Enterprise Partnerships to communicate that their functions will be transferred to local authorities and no further funding for operational costs will be made available after the end of April 2024.

Local Enterprise Partnerships ("LEPs") were originally established in 2011 by the Government as non-statutory partnerships, bringing together public and private sector expertise to identify local economic priorities and promote initiatives which boost economic growth and create jobs.  At the time this was a move away from the previous Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) that were dismantled following the 2010 general election and the move into power of the new "coalition" government. The involvement of private sector expertise in particular was intended to drive a new commercial rigour into public sector led regeneration and investment.

England's 38 LEPs played a central role in regeneration, administering over £12bn of public funding and being responsible for advising Central Government on the allocation of funding from the European Regional Development Fund.  However, in recent years their role has been reduced, with Metro Mayors increasingly being seen as central to the delivery of devolution and major public funding programmes, such as the Towns Fund and the Levelling Up Fund, relying on local authorities, rather than the LEPs.

The Spring Budget 2023 included an announcement that the Government was "minded to" withdraw central government support (core funding) for LEPs from April 2024 and transfer LEP functions to local authorities, where these were not already delivered by combined authorities.

This decision was confirmed in a letter dated 4 August 2023 from the Levelling Up Minister, Dehenna Davidson, to all LEP Chairs, Combined Authority Mayors, Local Authority Leaders and the Mayor of London, which was accompanied by Guidance for Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and local and combined authorities: integration of LEP functions into local democratic institutions.

In many cases the LEP functions have already been transferred to Combined Authorities, or are about to be transferred under agreed devolution deals.  Where no such arrangements are in place, the Guidance envisages that the functions will transfer to local councils. 

The Guidance goes on to state that "the Government expects that integration of LEP functions into areas with a devolution deal or into upper tier local authorities will be undertaken as quickly as possible, ensuring a smooth and orderly transition" and that "the transfer of assets should be agreed by the LEP, its Accountable Body, and respective local authorities by March 2024".


Local Enterprise Partnerships have played an important role in delivering regeneration outcomes across England for over twelve years, developing local industrial strategies coordinating investment and administering regeneration funding.  In doing so, they have developed significant business expertise, as the RDAs did before them. 

Whilst this decision on LEPs was not unexpected, the Government should take steps to ensure the talent and expertise built up within LEPs is not lost to the public sector and the good work of the LEPs is continued under the new structures.  

Please contact our public sector experts if you have any queries.

Further Reading