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Economy Economy

Fund growth via combined authorities and local enterprise partnerships

Last updated: 09:21am 12 November 2019

We will wherever possible deliver growth funding through these organisations.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.25

Our verdict

The UK is seeing a shift in governance, from centralised strategies implemented locally, to locally-devised plans involving authorities in the area. This ongoing devolution process is embodied in combined mayoral authorities (CMAs) – legal bodies made up of two or more councils working together across council boundaries – and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) – joint local authority-business bodies designed to promote local economic growth. The government promised to deliver “growth funding” through CMAs and LEPs where possible.

In July 2018, the government published Strengthened Local Enterprise Partnerships, clarifying the remit, role and legal framework for LEPs, as well as their relationship with CMAs. Also, LEPs have been required to publish local industrial plans by 2020. According to National Audit Office data, since 2015-16, LEPs have been awarded £9.1 billion of the Local Growth Fund through three tranches of the Growth Deal.

In November 2018, the government announced the North of Tyne Combined Authority devolution deal, which will bring £600 million investment funding over 30 years to the area of Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland, and a second devolution deal with the West Midlands Combined Authority, expected to deliver over £260 million.

With new combined authority deals, and LEPs set to publish local industrial strategies by 2020, the government has set the stage to deliver growth funding through these local institutions, so this policy is ‘in progress’. We will keep tracking the funding delivered through CMAs and LEPs, so follow this policy to stay updated!

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