Small business support must not be left to fall through the cracks following decision to remove funding for Local Enterprise Partnerships

Press Releases 4 Aug 2023

FSB calls for creation of 'Business England' body to ensure that all small firms get good-quality support and help on their path to growth

Following the announcement from the Government that funding for Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in England will be withdrawn, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chair Martin McTague said:

“Even though we knew this was on the horizon, the decision to remove all funding from LEPs is still disappointing. With economic growth stuck in the doldrums and small firms beset on all sides by cost pressures and falling demand, going ahead with this decision seems especially badly timed.

“LEPs are a key ingredient in many local business ecosystems, providing resources, know-how, and practical solutions to small firms. The value they provide in return for their funding should not be underestimated, and the loss of the networks they facilitate will only become clear when it’s too late to replace them.

“The network of business support across England was already looking threadbare and inconsistent, and this news only emphasises the need for a ‘Business England’ body, to ensure that small firms and start-ups get the help they need regardless of their postcode.

“A key characteristic of LEPs is that they are business-led. Local Authorities should make sure that any business forum or council they set up using replacement funds from Government retain that element, so that they are as responsive as possible to what local firms want and need.

“The Government should now publish an updated regional economic strategy detailing how small business voices will be included in future plans, and also how it plans to avoid small and rural town funding being dominated by local combined authorities, to the detriment of small firms based in rural settings. Access to support should be straightforward for all small businesses, so they can be helped to reach their full potential – something the economy desperately needs.”

Media contact

Jo Tacon

Jo Tacon

Media & Communications Officer

[email protected]
07595 284292

About FSB

As the UK’s largest business support group, FSB is the voice of the UK’s small businesses and the self-employed. Established over 40 years ago to help its members succeed in business, FSB is a non-profit making and non-party political organisation that’s led by its members, for its members. As the UK’s leading business campaigner, FSB is focused on delivering change which supports smaller businesses to grow and succeed.

FSB offers members a wide range of vital business services, including access to finance, business banking, legal advice and support along with a powerful voice in Government. Each year FSB also runs the UK’s Celebrating Small Business Awards. More information is available at You can follow us on twitter @fsb_policy and on Instagram @fsb_uk.