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Further £54.6m Growth Deal funding to create jobs and support business growth in Leeds City Region

At their meeting today in Wakefield, WYCA members welcomed the news that a further £54.6m Growth Deal funding to create jobs and support business growth in Leeds City Region has been secured from government.

Overall, the investment could bring up to 10,000 jobs, 2,000 new homes and as much as £640m public and private sector investment to the Leeds City Region. This new funding is on top of the £1 billion deal agreed in July 2014 which saw the Leeds City Region awarded the largest settlement of any LEP area in the country.

Projects that will benefit from this round of investment include:

  • Housing and Regeneration programmes that will enable housing and employment growth;
  • a funding boost for the LEP’s business grants programme, helping more companies grow, innovate and exploit supply chain opportunities;
  • innovation and Enterprise centres at the Universities of Huddersfield and Leeds, forging links between business and universities, particularly in the health and medical, advanced manufacturing, and digital and creative sectors;
  • funding to exploit new resource efficient technologies to provide low cost, local energy.

 

Strong partnership

Councillor Peter Box, Leader of Wakefield Council and Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority said: “We have proved in the Leeds City Region that strong partnership working between the public and private sectors delivers better economic outcomes, quicker and at better value for the taxpayer than centrally administered schemes.

 “With this additional investment we will be able to build upon work already underway and create more jobs and economic opportunities for local people and businesses – including building more good quality, affordable homes to meet current and future demand, helping reduce energy bills for local people and small businesses, and investing in world-class college facilities to help our young people to develop the skills they need to thrive in a fast-paced labour market.

 “We are clear though, in our ongoing dialogue with government, that this must be a staging post in our journey towards full devolution and giving our City Region all of the tools it needs to unleash its enormous economic potential.”

 

Extraordinary growth

Roger Marsh, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) said: “This expansion of the £1billion Growth Deal we secured last summer is further demonstration of the government’s confidence in Leeds City Region as an economic powerhouse-in-the-making, capable of generating extraordinary growth for the North and the nation, and transforming us into a net contributor to national wealth.

“I welcome this additional funding, which will enable us to support more local small businesses to reach their full growth potential, boost innovation and enterprise in manufacturing, healthcare, digital and other fast-growing sectors, and invest in low-cost, efficient local energy that will make our region a global leader in the low carbon energy revolution.

“Most importantly, this investment will enable us to go further and faster in delivering the ambition set out in our Strategic Economic Plan of creating sustained good growth that benefits everyone who lives and does business here.”  

Expand

As part of the new deal, an additional £16m is provided for LEP funding programmes which have now supported over 350 businesses with the potential to create 3,500 jobs – meaning new resources for small businesses looking to expand and create jobs.

There will be an extra £20m for schemes that will bring housing and employment growth sites forward for development, supporting the aim to double the rate of house building. Funding has also been secured to exploit new resource-efficient technologies and provide low cost, local energy.

Huddersfield University will receive investment in an Incubation and Innovation Centre to support business in the advanced manufacturing and creative and digital sectors as part of important new support for business innovation. University of Leeds will also receive investment for an Innovation and Enterprise Centre, to provide incubation space for high tech companies, primarily in the health and medical sector. These new centres will help businesses form and develop in high technology sectors, supporting innovation and retaining business talent in the region.

World class

 Further skills capital funding has been secured to create world class learning facilities in further education colleges and training providers, particularly those that will support training in highly skilled jobs such as engineering and manufacturing. This builds on the £74 million secured in the first round of funding and supports the development of a skilled and flexible workforce.

The Prime Minister said: “Because the money will be in the control of a partnership of local community, business and civic leaders, it means it will go on things that really matter to people and businesses here.”

The Deputy Prime Minister said: “I’ve seen for myself the difference it makes to give Leeds more power over skills, over business support, over infrastructure spending.”
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