Rebalancing England: Sub-national development (once again) at the crossroads

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Journal Article
Urban Research and Practice, 2012, 5 (1), pp. 157 - 174
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Over the last two decades there has been continuous tinkering and wholesale review of the remit, governance and territorial focus of sub-national development in England. There has also been mounting agreement that subsidiarity will produce optimum material outcomes. It is against this background that we provide a critical reading of the UK Coalition government's 2010 'White Paper' on Local Growth. Revealing the peculiarities of an economic transition plan which dismantled a regional (strategic) framework, we explore the opportunities that cross-boundary local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) may provide. After abandoning regions, LEPs have been promoted as the only possible 'replacements' for regional development agencies and, thus, a prime example of new 'techniques of government'. We probe the potentials and pitfalls from the dash to establish new sub-national techniques of government, and crystallize some key implications that apply beyond the shores of England. Our key contention is that LEPs have designed-in just as many issues as they have designed-out. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
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