Last edited 01 Apr 2016

Growth deals for local enterprise partnerships

The government initiated the formation of local enterprise partnerships (LEP) between local businesses and local authorities in 2010. They emerged from the coalition government’s localism agenda announced in the 2010 Budget.

The local growth white paper, published in October 2010, defined the function of local enterprise partnerships as partnerships between local authorities and businesses that decide investment priorities for sustainable economic growth across their local economic area. This can include investment in roads, buildings and other facilities.

The function of growth deals is to help boost growth around the country, with local enterprise partnerships deciding the priorities for investment in roads, buildings and facilities within their area. Funding is available to local enterprise partnerships from growth deals for local projects that are beneficial to the local area and economy, such as:

  • Training young people.
  • Creating jobs.
  • Building new homes.
  • Contributing towards the costs of large infrastructure projects, such as transport improvements and superfast broadband.

All 39 local enterprise partnerships reached agreement for growth deals in the 2014 tranche. An interactive map displays where the partnerships are located around the country. This was expanded in January 2015.

Further details on each of the growth deals is available on the Local Growth Deals website.

Examples of major projects include:

  • £17 million to help improve the A2300 Burgess Hill link road to help relieve congestion and enable a large housing development.
  • £15.8 million towards transport projects in Fareham and Gosport .
  • £8.7 million in Greater Birmingham and Solihull to create new training facilities to help address skills shortages in the area.
  • £5 million for the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing at Nottingham University to help train manufacturing engineers and fund research.

In November 2015, a study of early growth deals by Nathaniel Lichfield Partners (NLP) found funding was focussed primarily on transport schemes and that the level of private sector investment varied widely. Ref Devolving Growth? Local Opportunities for Strategic Infrastructure Investment.

In March 2016, Communities Secretary Greg Clark announced that England’s 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships would be able to apply for a share of £1.8 billion to support projects in their areas. Ref

However, a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of the National Audit Office, also published in March 2016, questioned the transparency of LEP’s and recommended clarification about how they fit with other bodies to which power and spending have been devolved, and suggested that specific quantifiable objectives and performance indicators were set out for the success of Growth Deals.

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