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The regional lacuna: a preliminary map of the transition from RDAs to LEPs

By Lee Pugalis


Sub-national development in England is once again at a decisive crossroads in its persistent journey of state-led restructuring. Whereas the territories of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland achieved significant devolutionary packages under the UK’s Labour Government (1997-2010), decentralisation in England was rather more constrained and could be more aptly described as a regionalisation of central government functions. Since the election of a Conservative-Liberal Democrat (Con-Lib) UK Government in May, 2010, the demise of England’s regional framework has featured prominently in political discourse. It is a case of ‘out with the old’, including Regional Development Agencies, Government Offices for the Regions and Regional Leaders’ Boards, and ‘in with the new’, such as Local Enterprise Partnerships, as the Coalition Government embark on their quest of economic rebalancing and recovery at the same time as state spending retrenches. The transition is all the more intriguing from a European vantage, considering that regions are the bedrock of the EU’s territorial cohesion policy; performing a key role in the administration of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Contemplating how this transition may play out, I sketch a preliminary map of the road from Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) to Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs)

Topics: K400, K900
Publisher: Regional Studies Association
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1080/13673882.2011.9672721
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