The abolition of regional development agencies and the creation of local enterprise partnerships were announced as part of the June 2010 United Kingdom budget. On 29 June 2010 a letter was sent from the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to local authority and business leaders, inviting proposals to replace regional development agencies in their areas by 6 September 2010. On 7 September 2010, details were released of 56 proposals for local enterprise partnerships that had been received. On 6 October 2010, during the Conservative Party Conference, it was revealed that 22 had been given the provisional 'green light' to proceed and others might later be accepted with amendments. 24 bids were announced as successful on 28 October 2010.
LEPs were set up on a volunteer basis without any public funding and struggled to make progress. A report by Michael Heseltine in October 2012, No Stone Unturned, was largely accepted by Government, and proposed delegating funds from central government to LEPs, including:
The LEP areas of Greater Birmingham and Solihull, Greater Manchester, Leeds City Region, North Eastern, Sheffield City Region, and West of England were included in the first wave of 'city deals' in 2012.
Local enterprise partnership areas are allowed to overlap so a local authority is permitted to be part of more than one local enterprise partnership. To date there are 38 local enterprise partnerships in operation:
LEPs are researching the possible effect of Brexit on local economies. For example, Solent LEP has commissioned a report from Oxford Economics on the implications of Brexit.