There are ‘no plans’ to reduce the number of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) the Government has confirmed.
Transport Network’s sister publication The MJ was told by Whitehall officials that ministers would not ‘impose reductions in these locally-defined and voluntary partnerships’.
Prior to the election the previous secretary of state at the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), Eric Pickles, said the department wanted to see LEPs ‘reflecting real economic areas’.
However he stopped short of saying that the matter would be imposed on the 39 local boards of council and business representatives, stating: ‘We would be happy to see LEPs move boundaries. We would be happy for LEPs to merge.’
Last year Transport Network revealed there were show down talks with Greg Clark, now communities secretary, over funding for the central organising body for LEPs , the LEP Network.
The LEP system has been criticised for creating overlapping boundaries and areas that according to some do not reflect the economic reality of an area, they have also been criticised for a lack of transparency with many failing to publish end of year accounts.