There are problems with the hon. Gentleman’s argument. First, not every part of the country is covered by an LEP. LEPs are a work in progress, and it has been calculated that they will be for some time yet.
Secondly, LEPs are built entirely on a voluntary approach. We will come to that again in discussing the next clause, but perhaps the hon. Gentleman could comment on it in the context of this clause. We may be critical of the abolition of the regional development agencies, but we are determined to make the LEPs work. Given that they are based on a voluntary approach, how can he be so confident that things will work in the way that he has described?
Thirdly, I want to press the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Worsley and Eccles South about resources. The Government have made it clear that no resources will be available to the LEPs at a time when local authority budgets are being cut by 27%. How will that work?