From RDAs to LEPs: A new localism? Case examples of West Midlands and Yorkshire

Gill Bentley*, David Bailey, John Shutt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Citations (Scopus)


The new Coalition Government formed in May 2010 in the UK is to abolish Regional Development Agencies and, in the name of a 'new localism', is to replace them with Local Enterprise Partnerships, 'joint local authority-business bodies brought forward by local authorities to promote local economic development'. This article looks at the proposals for LEPs, in the light of theories of governance. It explores the case examples of the West Midlands and Yorkshire and Humberside, where there have been differing proposals for region-wide LEPs. It argues that far from localism, the move to set up LEPs is profoundly ant-regionalist and is re-centralisation in disguise, given that many economic development functions are being taken back to Whitehall. That problem of recentralisation, we suggest, risks being exacerbated by a fragmentation of LEPs into small territorial units, and a lack of resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-557
Number of pages23
JournalLocal Economy
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2010
Externally publishedYes


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