Local Enterprise Partnership Boundaries

Oral Answers to Questions — Communities and Local Government – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 8th September 2014.

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Photo of John Mann John Mann Labour, Bassetlaw 2:30 pm, 8th September 2014

What recent assessment he has made of local enterprise partnership boundaries.

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

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.

Photo of John Mann John Mann Labour, Bassetlaw

Some areas such as Bassetlaw are in two LEP areas. Will the good people of Bassetlaw be given the choice which local enterprise area they go in, or will it be a central Government decision?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

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.

Photo of Philip Hollobone Philip Hollobone Conservative, Kettering

The borough of Kettering is in two LEPs—the Northamptonshire LEP and the South East Midlands LEP—and Kettering borough council is happy to be in both. Will the Minister confirm that no pressure should be applied by larger local authorities to force smaller ones to choose between two LEPs?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

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.

Photo of Andrew Gwynne Andrew Gwynne Shadow Minister (Health)

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?

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

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.