Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Is localism the new regionalism?

A leading independent think-tank, The Smith Institute, warns that Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), unlike their predecessors the Regional Development Agencies, lack legal and statutory foundation, the ability to procure contracts, manage programmes, and have been given no resources to cover running costs.

The Smith Institute’s new report, Changing Gear - Is Localism the new Regionalism? claims that:
  • the Government’s local economic strategy falls well short of what is needed
  • the Government’s stated aim of ‘rebalancing the economy’ away from the South is likely to fail
  • LEPs risk falling into irrelevance without increased support from the Government and a greater clarity of purpose.
Paul Hackett, Director of the Smith Institute said, "This new Smith Institute report shows that the Government’s strategy to rebalance the economy is not working."

"The consensus view among the experts is that the LEPs will not be able to match the RDAs and lack the resources and clout to address the growing economic regional divide."

LEPs are the Government’s proposed vehicle for co-ordinating economic development and related policy areas. There are 39 agreed partnerships across England, covering all but one local authority.

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