Policy paper

2010 to 2015 government policy: Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and enterprise zones

Updated 8 May 2015

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Applies to England

This is a copy of a document that stated a policy of the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government. The previous URL of this page was https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/supporting-economic-growth-through-local-enterprise-partnerships-and-enterprise-zones. Current policies can be found at the GOV.UK policies list.


Our economy is currently too dependent on a narrow range of industry sectors. We need an economy driven by private sector growth, with business opportunities evenly balanced across the country and between industries. We also need to reduce burdens for businesses, particularly in terms of lower tax levels, planning and other administrative burdens.


We’ve worked with local authorities to create local enterprise partnerships across the whole country.

We’ve created 24 enterprise zones across England. For information on each of the zones go to the Enterprise Zones website.

The Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Transport have created the £730 million Growing Places Fund. The fund is used by local enterprise partnerships to support infrastructure.


Local enterprise partnerships

In the coalition agreement, the government committed to establishing local enterprise partnerships to replace the Regional Development Agencies.

In June 2010 we invited businesses and councils to come together to form local enterprise partnerships whose geography properly reflects the natural economic areas of England.

The local growth white paper, published in October 2010, set out the roles that local enterprise partnerships can play depending on their local priorities.

The spreadsheet lists the local authority (district/unitary) areas covered by each local enterprise partnership.

Enterprise zones

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced the first 11 zones in the 2011 Budget. The government has now created 24 enterprise zones.

The Department for Communities and Local Government published the Enterprise zone prospectus the day after the Budget announcement. The prospectus gives more information to local enterprise partnerships, local authorities and partners about the government’s enterprise zone programme.

University enterprise zones

As part of the government’s long-term economic plan, a new £15 million pilot scheme will allow universities to push through local growth plans and support entrepreneurship and innovation.

University enterprise zones will provide funding to locations across England. The zones will allow business spaces to be built that can host a range of new high-tech companies in the early stages of their development. These innovative small businesses will then be able to share the expert knowledge at the university, helping them to grow and prosper. A competition is being held to select 3 to 4 pilot zones.

View/download the application form and guidance to bid for pilot scheme funding. The deadline for bids is 5pm on 31 March 2014.

Who we’re working with

Enterprise zones have been awarded to, and are being led by, local enterprise partnerships.

A local enterprise partnership network has been set up to help local enterprise partnerships share knowledge and ideas. Membership of the network is open to representatives of all local enterprise partnerships in England.

Appendix 1: enterprise zones

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

Enterprise zones are specific geographical areas within local enterprise partnerships’ boundaries. Enterprise zones can offer a range of incentives for businesses to start up or expand, such as:

  • a business rate discount worth up to £275,000 per business over a 5 year period
  • simplified local authority planning, for example, through Local Development Orders that grant automatic planning permission for certain development (such as new industrial buildings or changing how existing buildings are used) within specified areas
  • government grants to install superfast broadband
  • enhanced capital allowances in some zones - tax relief for investments in equipment

All business rates growth generated within an enterprise zone will - for at least 25 years - be kept and used by the relevant local enterprise partnership and local authorities to reinvest in local economic growth.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced at Budget 2014 that the deadlines for accessing business rate discounts and enhanced capital allowances on enterprise zones would be extended by 3 years.

This means that businesses have until March 2018 to locate on an enterprise zone to be able to access business rate discounts. On sites where enhanced capital allowances are available, businesses now have until March 2020 to make their investment.

You can find out more about each of the 24 zones on the enterprise zones website.

Appendix 2: Economic Assets Programme

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) manages the Economic Assets Programme (EAP) on behalf of the government. The objectives of the EAP are to:

  • support local economic growth and regeneration in local communities
  • make sure that our used land and property assets matches the economic ambitions of local areas, including creating jobs, supporting enterprise, and developing skills and technology
  • provide a more comprehensive range of development support in local areas alongside the government funding invested by the HCA in building new homes, getting public land ready for development, and regeneration
  • reinvest money generated by the sale and development of some assets, into other assets, so that the development potential of all is achieved
  • support the government’s growth and employment policies by increasing local opportunities

The HCA took ownership of the 300 land and property assets in the EAP, with a value of £300 million, in 2012. It has established local stewardship partnerships, made up of local councils, local enterprise partnerships, businesses and other local partners, to meet the EAP objectives in each area.

The HCA combines investment from the other programmes of government funding it manages, using its experience in public / private partnerships and land management. The HCA encourages local councils to combine their own land with HCA land to create more opportunities.

Appendix 3: Local Enterprise Partnerships

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

Local enterprise partnerships are partnerships between local authorities and businesses. They decide what the priorities should be for investment in roads, buildings and facilities in the area.

Local enterprise partnerships were given the chance to apply to have an enterprise zone and 24 were awarded. These zones can take advantage of tax incentives and simplified local planning regulations.

So far 39 local enterprise partnerships have been created. See the full list and map of local enterprise partnerships and enterprise zones below.

Local Enterprise Partnerships map

To help local enterprise partnerships share knowledge and ideas, we’ve set up the local enterprise partnerships network. Membership of the network is open to representatives of all local enterprise partnerships in England.

Spreadsheet showing local authority (district/unitary) areas covered by local enterprise partnerships.

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is supporting local enterprise partnerships that identify housing, land and regeneration as growth priorities.

Specifically it is:

  • providing support and advice to local organisations bidding for government funding from the Regional Growth Fund
  • providing government funding to many of the 24 enterprise zones, including those where the HCA is a landowner
  • advising local organisations on the use of revolving investment funds to maximise benefits from Growing Places Fund investment
  • supporting and advising cities and local enterprise partnerships on the housing and regeneration aspects of their City and Growth Deals respectively