The government has confirmed its decision to withdraw core funding for Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) from April 2024 and transfer their functions to local and combined authorities. This announcement was anticipated following the Chancellor’s statement in the March Budget and in Greater Manchester we have undertaken considerable work to prepare for this transition.
In March, the Chancellor stated that as part of the government’s commitment to empowering democratically elected local leaders, LEP functions were to be delivered by local government with government “minded to” withdraw core funding for LEPs from April 2024.
In response, we developed a new model for a Greater Manchester Business Board (LEP), fully integrated into Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) with a remit to ensure we can be as ambitious as possible, while maintaining a strong business voice and maximising economic growth across the city-region.
A key part of this approach will be for the Board to oversee a framework of Greater Manchester Strategy (GMS) priorities agreed annually with GMCA, with Board members leading on delivery through affiliated groups, bringing together officers and partners in areas where GMCA is already allocating considerable resource. As such, the withdrawal of core funding will have a limited impact on GM Business Board (LEP) delivery.
This model was agreed by the Board and GMCA in September and forms the basis of the Integration Plan we submitted to government. We are also looking to refresh Board membership to ensure we have the right mix of skills and experience to deliver this vision, bolstering our ability to realise this ambitious agenda as we enter the next phase of delivery.
In this way, we can harness the strong, independent and diverse business voice that will be central to driving a successful economy across the city-region and delivering our shared vision of a greener, fairer and more prosperous Greater Manchester.
Lou Cordwell OBE
Chair, Greater Manchester Business Board (LEP)