Across England, planning and governance modes of regulation of supra-local development strategies are undergoing important transformations. In particular, the UK’s Coalition Government, which was has been in office since 2010, has a political and financial mission of rescaling and simplifying sub-national economic planning. As a consequence of the abandonment of regional apparatus, which can be understood almost as a ‘scorched earth’ approach, a strategic leadership fissure has arisen between national and local scales of policy. Analysing the theory and processes of spatial rescaling, including the emergence of new geographies of governance at the sub-regional scale, the paper illustrates some of the key opportunities and dilemmas arising from these ‘scalar shifts’. Drawing on the case of Local Enterprise Partnerships – which are supra-local non-statutory spatial governance entities – the paper questions whether these new public-private arrangements present a pragmatic way of resolving the strategic tensions between elected local authority areas that would otherwise be seriously ignored in England after regions. The paper examines whether state-led rescaling in effect provides a new ‘cover’ for some old politics.