The chairman of Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership has joined LEP business leaders in welcoming publication of the government’s Review of Local Enterprise Partnerships, and the additional £20m funding that underpins it.

It will enable LEPs to continue to build on their strengths as unique business-led local organisations, brokering business partnerships, developing local Industrial Strategies, and setting the economic direction that shapes their local area.

In return for building their reformed role, LEP business leaders want to see a commitment from government to the funding and means to deliver the scale of opportunity that the review offers.  LEP leaders also want to see a joint commitment from government departments to the localism agenda, and confirmation that LEPs will oversee the local allocations of the UKSPF.

Local Growth Minister, Jake Berry MP, said: “We’ve committed over £9 billion to help LEPs through three rounds of Growth Deals to deliver on their investment priorities, while creating new and exciting economic opportunities for local businesses and communities across the country.

“This landmark shake-up of our local enterprise partnerships will help us deliver on our pledge to deliver over £12 billion through the Local Growth Fund by 2021 while allowing LEPs to use their local knowledge to deliver inclusive growth.”

Publication of the review follows on from the successful Prime Minister’s first Council of LEP Chairs held in June, as part of their ongoing role in developing local Industrial Strategies, and preparing for implementation of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).

Chair of Cheshire and Warrington LEP, and LEP Review Panel member, Christine Gaskell MBE DL, said: “LEPs welcome the conclusions and recommendations of the government’s Review of Local Enterprise Partnerships and the additional funding which will enable us to continue to play a pivotal role in building an ambitious programme for long-term local economic growth.

“The next step for LEPs is to work in tandem with government to deliver on all of the review’s recommendations in the coming months, many of which are already underway.

“But, as LEPs strengthen their capacity and capability in line with the recommendations of the review, it’s vital that they are underpinned by a matching commitment from the Government to equip us with the funding and the means to deliver truly local strategies that will grow the productivity of the people, firms and industries in our areas”

The key areas the review looked at include:

  • The roles and responsibilities of LEPs.
  • Leadership and organisational capacity – including induction and training and ‘capacity funding’
  • Accountability and performance
  • LEP legal structures.
  • Increasing representation and diversity on LEP Boards.
  • LEP Geographies and boundaries – including removing overlaps and mergers.
  • The role of the LEP Network in supporting LEPs.

Mike Blackburn, chair of Greater Manchester LEP, said: “This will come as welcome news to the private and public sector organisations that look to the GM LEP to help steer the economic development of the city-region.

“The GM LEP has at its heart the ambition to make Greater Manchester a fully self-sustaining and commercially competitive city-region, able to best compete on a global stage for investment. This latest government review will enable the LEP to deliver more projects and drive further strategic growth toward this goal.