The 24 approved LEPS have now been announced. It looks like a victory for the well organised and urban. There is no surprise that Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Bristol, Birmingham, Nottingham, Teeside and Sheffield have all got what they wanted.
The interesting shapes appear outside the city regions. The biggest area covered is the Essex, Kent and East Sussex LEP which forms part of a wider pattern of LEPs surrounding and facing London. One of them is even called coast to capital.
The big losers are rural areas such as Somerset, Devon, Suffolk, Wiltshire, Norfolk, Gloucestershire, Northumberland and Dorset. Other losers include those whose bids descended into fractious infighting such as Lancashire and the Humber area.
As the process developed there had been concern that district councils would be the big losers. This might still be that case but some nimble authorities have negotiated membership of more than one LEP. Barnsley will now benefit from funding and support from both the Leeds and Sheffield city regions.
The political geography of England is beginning a reorientation from regions to cities and there is a real risk that the rural economy will be sidelined yet again.
The full list is:
1 Birmingham & Solihull with
E. Staffordshire, Lichfield &Tamworth
2 Cheshire and Warrington
3 Coast to Capital
4 Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly
5 Coventry & Warwickshire
7 Gt. Cambridge & Gt. Peterborough
8 Greater Manchester
10 Kent, Greater Essex & East Sussex
11 Leeds City Region
12 Leicester & Leicestershire
14 Liverpool City Region
15 Nottingham, Nottinghamshire,
Derby, & Derbyshire
16 Oxfordshire City Region
17 Sheffield City Region
19 S.E. Midlands
20 Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire
21 Tees Valley
22 Thames Valley Berkshire
23 The Marches
24 West of England