There has been no recent assessment of local enterprise partnership boundaries. Through growth deals, the
Government invited local enterprise partnerships to submit proposals to revise those boundaries, but none did.
We have been clear that those decisions must be locally driven. The Government are happy to consider such requests, and we are currently considering the results of a consultation on the rules surrounding the creation of combined authorities. It must be a locally driven ask, and in the hon. Gentleman’s case it is vital that both combined local authorities work together and not centrifugally. That will provide the best backdrop to spending £300 million—soon to rise to £550 million—of local growth funding for the hon. Gentleman’s area.
My hon. Friend is right. It is important that people choose locally how to organise themselves. There would be no support for pressure to get smaller authorities to change how they operate.
Greater Manchester is a case in point. The city region and the LEP boundaries are coterminous, which is working well, but there is a democratic deficit. What more will the Government do to address that problem, so that local populations have buy-in to the economic regeneration plans for the city region?
We are providing support, as are other organisations, such as, most recently, the Federation of Small Businesses, to help LEPs to develop and to have better representation on their boards. The Manchester LEP is doing extremely well—we need to do more to encourage it to allocate its growth funding to projects, but it is doing well. Further support, both from the Government and from third-party organisations, is being provided to develop democratic structures.