The money comes from the Growing Places Fund, established by the Government to make capital investments in economic growth. The Fund is being administered locally by the York North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership, who are asking for initial proposals by 20 January 2012.
There is a pressing need for immediate economic stimulus to counteract slowing growth and public sector job cuts. The Partnership is also keen to distinguish itself for its swift action and a results-driven approach. Accordingly it is the first LEP across the UK to announce plans for investing the Growing Places Fund and in this initial investment round, priority will be given to activity that is ready to implement.
Barry Dodd, Chair of the Partnership, said:
This is what we have been asking Government for, the chance to make our own decisions. We’ve not set ourselves up solely to administer Government funds, but when they offer resources and decision making, we are the right people to make the most of it for our business community.
The funding can invest in any type of activity as long as it can demonstrate that it creates jobs and stimulates economic growth. However, the investments must be classed as capital spending, such as the improvement of fixed assets including equipment, infrastructure or buildings. The twist on previous grant funding approaches is that investments should generate a return that can be re-invested in other activity in the future.
Mr Dodd added:
This is one of many strands of activity that we hope will help grow businesses and create jobs in our area. We recognise that the timetable is tight for initial applications, but the sooner we can kick off some investments, the sooner we can generate a return to invest in other activity that has a longer lead time. We will gladly work with people to bring forward proposals that are not immediately ready to go, but which will deliver local benefits in the medium term.
Initial proposals will be considered by the LEP Board on 27 January. Those shortlisted will be invited to work up full business plans, with the intention of projects being implemented from April 2012. Future investment rounds will then be announced.
The Growing Places Prospectus and template for Expressions of Interest is on the LEP’s temporary website – www.ynylep.co.uk. The LEP is due to launch a brand new website in January 2012 providing a host of information and support for local businesses.
The York, North Yorkshire and East Riding LEP is a business led public/private partnership which is focussed on inspiring economic growth by helping businesses start up, grow and become more competitive.