IoD: Local authorities lack the capacity to effectively support business

According to a recent poll by the Institute of Directors, 73% of business leaders have a lack of confidence in the ability of local authorities to provide effective support to business.

In August 2023, the Government announced that it would withdraw central government support for Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).

From April 2024, the core functions delivered by LEPs in England – business representation, local economic planning and the delivery of certain government programmes – will be passed to local authorities.

Commenting on the results, Dr. Roger Barker, Director of Policy at the IoD, said:

“Since their establishment in 2012, LEPs have provided business with a voice in local economic development. They have brought together business leaders, educational institutions and local politicians, often with minimal administrative support.

“Given the current challenges facing local government, this partnership is at risk. Many local councils are burdened by significant financial constraints, and have neither the resources nor the expertise to take on this important role.

“In addition, many local authorities in England remain outside of devolution deals, and lack the capacities enjoyed by combined authorities with metro mayors. In the absence of LEPs, their ability to support business is far from clear.”