The Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is today submitting its draft bid for a significant chunk of the government’s £2bn Local Growth Fund.
The Leeds City Region (LCR) Partnership brings together a group of 11 local authorities (Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield, York and North Yorkshire County Council), its local enterprise partnership (LEP) and partners to support economic growth and a better quality of life for our communities.
The LEP’s draft Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) outlines an ambitious vision of unlocking the region’s potential as an economic powerhouse, and long-term goals of achieving economic, employment and wage growth above the national average by 2030. The City Region currently lags the national average on all of these measures.
Initial proposals put forward in the draft Plan include measures to:
- boost innovation, inward investment and export rates;
- equip young people with the skills to compete in a fast-changing labour market;
- provide a clean, cost-effective energy infrastructure taking advantage of the City Region’s significant power generation cluster that produces 17% of England’s electricity; and
- reverse decades of under-investment in strategic transport and housing
The LEP is also seeking to expand its £25.7m Business Growth Programme, which to date has helped over 140 SMEs – including Saltaire Brewery, sportswear manufacturer Xamax in Wakefield, and Pudsey-based MPM – expand and create jobs.
Roger Marsh, Chair of the LEP, said:
The submission of our draft Plan marks the start of a negotiation process with Whitehall over what could be major new investment resources for our region.
The Leeds City Region accounts for 5% of the national economy, but we are seeking a bigger piece of the pie to deliver our ambitions. We want government to back this City Region because we have a history of delivering, and the ambition to play a more prominent role in driving national prosperity.
We’re not going to see transformational growth however without sustained business growth: we need businesses to get behind our vision and help us push the region forward. The message I want businesses to take away is that this is very much mission possible.
The LEP will submit its final Strategic Economic Plan in March 2014. The Leeds City Region’s ‘Local Growth Deal’ is expected to be announced in July 2014, with investment beginning in April 2015. All 39 LEPs nationally are currently bidding for a slice of the Local Growth Fund through a competitive process.
The City Region’s eventual Local Growth Fund settlement will provide a key funding stream for the LEP to invest alongside European funding and other public and private sector finance to deliver its ambitions. In addition the LEP and its partners are seeking new powers that will enable the City Region to take greater control over local economic decision-making, building on the success of its 2012 City Deal.
The Leeds City Region SEP is based on a substantial evidence base built up over 10 years by the Leeds City Region Partnership. This evidence has been supplemented by extensive consultation with over 500 organisations and individuals to date. Further consultation opportunities on the draft plan will be announced in the New Year.
Meanwhile, a government consultation is currently underway on proposals to create a West Yorkshire Combined Authority, which will provide an accountable body for the Leeds City Region’s Local Growth Funds, EU funding and the £1bn West Yorkshire Transport Fund agreed through the Leeds City Region City Deal. The consultation closes on 2 January, and responses can be submitted via www.gov.uk/government/consultations/proposal-to-establish-a-combined-authority-for-west-yorkshire
More information on the Leeds City Region LEP’s progress towards a Local Growth Deal is available at www.leedscityregion.gov.uk/growthdeal. A summary version of the LEP’s draft Strategic Economic Plan will be available on its website.