In England, local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) are voluntary partnerships between local authorities and businesses, set up in 2011 by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to help determine local economic priorities and lead economic growth and job creation within the local area. They carry out some of the functions previously carried out by the regional development agencies which were abolished in March 2012. In certain areas, funding is received from the UK government via growth deals.
After the March 2017 merger of Northamptonshire LEP into South East Midlands LEP, there were 38 local enterprise partnerships in operation.
The government plans to withdraw support for the partnerships in 2024.
The abolition of regional development agencies and the creation of local enterprise partnerships were announced as part of the June 2010 United Kingdom budget. On 29 June 2010 a letter was sent from the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to local authority and business leaders, inviting proposals to replace regional development agencies in their areas by 6 September 2010. On 7 September 2010, details were released of 56 proposals for local enterprise partnerships that had been received. On 6 October 2010, during the Conservative Party Conference, it was revealed that 22 had been given the provisional 'green light' to proceed and others might later be accepted with amendments. 24 bids were announced as successful on 28 October 2010.
LEPs were set up on a voluntary basis without any public funding and struggled to make progress. A report by Michael Heseltine in October 2012, No Stone Unturned, was largely accepted by Government, and proposed delegating certain funds from central government to LEPs. Changes included:
- allocating a share of a £1,400m Local Growth Fund to generate growth, through competitive bidding;
- getting LEPs to draw up plans for local growth as the basis for negotiation on the money in the Fund
- realigning the management of the EU Structural and Investment Funds in England to follow the plans made by LEPs.
The LEP areas of Greater Birmingham and Solihull, Greater Manchester, Leeds City Region, North Eastern, Sheffield City Region, and West of England were included in the first wave of 'city deals' in 2012.
List of LEPs
Local enterprise partnership areas are allowed to overlap, so a local authority is permitted to be part of more than one local enterprise partnership.[note 1] Currently there are 38 local enterprise partnerships in operation:
- Local government in England
- History of local government in England
- Local strategic partnership
- Local transport bodies
- Combined authority
- The local authority areas taking part in two LEPs are Aylesbury Vale, Barnsley, Bassetlaw, Bolsover, Bromsgrove, Cannock Chase, Cherwell, Chesterfield, Croydon, Derbyshire Dales, East Hampshire, East Staffordshire, Forest Heath, Harrogate, King's Lynn and West Norfolk, Lewes, Lichfield, New Forest, North East Derbyshire, North East Lincolnshire, North Hertfordshire, North Lincolnshire, Redditch, St Edmundsbury, Tamworth, Test Valley, Uttlesford, Winchester, Wyre Forest and York.
- Overlaps with other LEPs
- Formerly Greater Cambridge and Greater Peterborough 
- Advisory role only; economic functions are the responsibility of the Mayor of London
- Formerly Sheffield City Region 
- "Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and Enterprise Zones". GOV.UK. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
- "Government plans to abolish leps". 15 March 2023. Retrieved 8 May 2023.
- Mark Hoban (22 June 2010). Budget 2010 (PDF). HM Treasury. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 October 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2010.
- "Local enterprise partnerships". Department of Communities and Local Government. 29 June 2010. Retrieved 7 October 2010.
- Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (7 September 2010). "New Local Enterprise Partnerships criss-cross the country". News Distribution Service. Archived from the original on 13 September 2010. Retrieved 7 October 2010.
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- Allister Hayman (6 October 2010). "LEPs: 22 bald men fighting over a comb?". Local Government Chronicle. Retrieved 7 October 2010.
- "Live blog: Sub-national economic growth white paper". 28 October 2010. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
- Allister Hayman (7 September 2010). "The geography of LEPs: final list". Local Government Chronicle. Retrieved 7 October 2010.
- "Cities' economic power unlocked in radical power shift". GOV.UK.
- "Local Growth Deals". GOV.UK. 9 March 2017. Retrieved 2 January 2021.
- Colin Marrs (27 August 2010). "Array of LEP proposals emerge in Yorkshire". Regen.net. Retrieved 7 October 2010.
- "LEP Welcomes Rutland County Council". www.greaterlincolnshirelep.co.uk. Greater Lincolnshire LEP. 11 May 2020. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
- "Ties Strengthened in LEP Reorganisation". www.greaterlincolnshirelep.co.uk. Greater Lincolnshire LEP. 22 May 2020. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
- "London Enterprise Panel | Greater London Authority". Archived from the original on 15 August 2012. Retrieved 1 September 2012.