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Ministers to approve RDA replacements

Ministers are set to approve 22 new local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) to replace Regional Development Agencies, according NCE’s sister magazine Local Government Chronicle (LGC).

The shortlist of 22 – chosen from 56 submissions – includes all of England’s largest regional cities, except Hull. A list obtained by LGC from sources close to the process has the shortlist as follows:

  • North East: Tees Valley, North East Partnership.
  • Yorkshire: Leeds city region, Sheffield city region
  • North West: Greater Manchester, Liverpool city region, Cheshire and Warrington
  • West Midlands: Greater Birmingham, the Marches Enterprise Partnership, the Black Country (which could be merged with Greater Birmingham), Coventry & Warwickshire, Worcestershire.
  • East Midlands: Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire, Leicester & Leicestershire
  • Greater South East: Kent & Essex “super LEP”, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, Oxford city region, Hertfordshire, Solent (Portsmouth, Southampton and the Isle of Wight), Coast to Capital (Brighton, West Sussex, the Gatwick Diamond and Croydon)
  • South West: Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Greater Bristol

Approved bidders will negotiate what powers might be devolved. It is unclear what powers the LEPs will have, although more details will be revealed later this month in a White Paper.

At last week’s Conservative Party conference, communities secretary Eric Pickles said between 15 and 22 bids were “ready to go” – a sharp increase on the dozen that business secretary Vince Cable identified as good in September. Pickles is understood to want more LEPs to get the green light, while Cable favours fewer, larger partnerships.

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