Local Growth Deal analysis reveals nearly half of six year funding is already allocated and identifies regional funding differences

Out-Law News | 18 Jul 2014 | 4:39 pm | 1 min. read

Early analysis of the Growth Deals agreed between the government and England's 39 local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) has revealed that nearly half of the £12 billion in funding available to 2021 has already been allocated to LEPs and identified regional differences in the amounts of funding allocated.

On 7 July, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg announced details of £2bn of funding to be provided to local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) across England in 2015/16 for infrastructure and housing development under the government's Local Growth Deals scheme. The individual Growth Deals signed by each of England's 39 LEPs outlined the share of the 2015/16 funding allocated to each LEP and confirmed additional funding committed by the government towards long-term projects up to 2021.

Early analysis of the Growth Deals undertaken by development economist David Marlow has revealed that, while only £267 million of £2bn available for 2015/16 remains to be allocated, nearly half of the £10bn promised for future years of the scheme has already been committed to specific LEPs.

Of the £4.6bn already earmarked for spending in 2016-21, however, £1.4bn is 'provisional', which could affect the amounts that are eventually provided to LEPs, Marlow said. "Some LEPs have very high levels of 'provisional allocations'", said Marlow. "For Thames Valley Berkshire (84%), Greater Birmingham and Solihull (77%), Northamptonshire (72%) and five others, over 50% of their 2016/21 award needs further work before it can be firmed up."

Other analysts looked at the differences in agreed spending under the Growth Deals between different regions. European and urban policy consultant Patrick Willcocks looked at the per capita awards for 2015/16 and found that spend varied from £29 per head in London to £194 per head for the West of England LEP.

Economic development consultancy Regeneris produced a list ranking LEPs according to their allocation across a range of measures and noted that "those that have done best are largely outside the South East" and that the bottom 10 of the list was "dominated by LEPs in the South East".

David Marlow thought that the relatively small Growth Deal commitments for some LEPs suggested that further developments might be expected towards the devolution of spending. "The London deal ... is so far removed from London's enhanced devolution ambitions that there must be a further more fundamental set of developments to be announced," said Marlow. "Greater Manchester ... has announced so few outputs (5,000 jobs and no homes), that this cannot be the complete story on local leadership and governance reforms and the next tranche of devolved powers and resources".

Discussions for future years of Growth Deals are currently open.