LEP asks for £25m to unlock growth

Published 28th March 2013 at 9:04am

The LEP is asking Government for £25m to stimulate economic growth and create jobs in the Sheffield City Region.

Last week the LEP submitted its bid to Round 4 of the Government’s Regional Growth Fund. In its bid, the LEP proposes that in exchange for £25 million funding, it will unlock £105 million of business investment and create at least 1,800 new private sector jobs by March 2016.

The LEP’s application to Round 4 is a top-up for its “Unlocking Business Investment” programme, which benefited from £25 million from the last round of RGF. Around 65 projects are currently part of this first wave of the programme – with the first contracts being signed in April 2013.

LEP Board Member Chris Scholey said,

“This £25 million will top-up our ‘Unlocking Business Investment’ programme and enable business leaders to turn robust business plans into growth – which will boost the economy and create jobs.

“The Sheffield City Region has a very good track record on the Regional Growth Fund and so we expect the Government to really buy into the potential of this proposal.”

If successful, LEP will focus its funding on supporting growing businesses in the modern manufacturing and technology sectors in the Sheffield City Region. Master Cutler, Neil MacDonald, wrote to the Deputy Prime Minister to give his backing for the bid and support its focused approach. He said:

“I welcome the focus of this bid being the advanced manufacturing and technology sector – a sector in which the City Region has not only a natural competitive advantage, but also a ‘City Deal’ and a well-managed Enterprise Zone.”

LEP Board Member David Grey said,

“We were delighted by the scale of response from City Region’s businesses in the last round of the scheme. We were oversubscribed by £51 million – which means we had applications for over three times our total budget!

“The success of our last round of RGF funding means that we already have around £20 million of first-rate projects ‘waiting in the wings’. It demonstrates pent up demand in our region. This RGF funding is allowing businesses to accelerate their investment plans. The city region is made up of 50,000 SMEs so we have some way to go before we run out of opportunities..

“I hope the Government grasps this opportunity with both hands so we can give these business plans the support they need.”

LEP Chairman James Newman said,

“This programme is absolutely central to the LEP’s vision – to rebalance the Sheffield City Region’s economy and create the conditions in which businesses can grow.”

“It is vital that the Government continues to shows confidence in the ability of business in the Sheffield City Region to help drive the economy, both locally and nationally.”

For more information on the Sheffield City Region’s existing RGF programme, visit www.sheffieldcityregion.org.uk/projects/rgf/

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