LEP welcomes core funding announcement

Published 18th September 2012 at 8:12am

The Government has announced core funding for Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to allow them to drive forward their growth priorities.

LEPs are described the Government as central to their approach to driving local economic growth and for ensuring that every community is able to fulfil its potential. This offer of over £24 million from Government could unlock up to £20 million locally and will enable LEPs to deliver their local plans for growth.

An interim £5 million funding package will be made available immediately for all LEPs to draw upon for the remainder of this financial year. This will be followed by up to £250,000 per LEP per year for the following two years. Where matched by funds locally the overall funding pot could equate up to £45 million over this period. The central government funding will be provided on a 50/50 basis by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

James Newman, Chairman of the Sheffield City Region LEP, said:

“Today’s Government announcement about LEP funding is good news for the Sheffield City Region’s economic growth and employment prospects.

“Although this is only a relatively small amount, this funding will give our LEP the resources it needs to develop its strategy which is based on local priority sectors of high economic growth and job creation potential.

“Through effective private-public sector collaboration, this LEP has achieved a lot so far with a very limited number of people. These new funds will give the LEP’s long term projects the resources they need – ensuring the ongoing success of our inward investment strategy, our enterprise zone and our city deal.

“Now that the Coalition has acknowledged the need for this support, I hope that they release the funds without too much delay, so we can concentrate our efforts on stimulating economic growth.

“We hope that this won’t be the only piece of good news from Whitehall this Autumn, as we await the outcome of our RGF bid, which has the potential to give our economy a huge boost by unlocking millions in direct business investment and creating hundreds of new private sector jobs.”

Business and Enterprise Minister Michael Fallon, said:

“It is crucial we arm Local Enterprise Partnerships with the tools and resources they need to play a prominent role in delivering growth and jobs for their communities. This funding will help LEPs plan for the long term and ensure they can remain locally-led instead of dependent on central government support.

“We need to ensure LEPs remain voluntary business and civic partnerships so they are in the best possible position to deliver sustainable growth and job creation in their areas. Already we are seeing LEPs across England delivering innovative schemes in their communities. This financial support will help the partnerships to continue this work.”

Local Growth Minister Mark Prisk said:

“Today’s £25 million boost will give Local Enterprise Partnerships the financial stability they need going forward, to build on their early successes and tailor the support they offer to local needs. If matched by local support, this could mean that up to £45 million will be available to help LEPs turn their plans into jobs and growth.”

LEPs will be invited to bid for matched funding for 2013/14 and 2014/15, setting out how they would be able to offer a cash match from public or private resources. Details on the scope of the match will be discussed with LEPs shortly.

The Government made £5 million of core funding available to LEPs last year to help them start up and establish themselves through financial support for things such as board support, development of priorities and business engagement. This was followed by a further £4 million to build capacity over a four year period.

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