Two Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) have joined forces to bid for a slice of the government’s £1.8billion Local Growth Fund, funding which would further boost the South East Midlands economy which includes Northamptonshire.
Government announced a third round of Growth Deals in its March 2016 budget and South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) and NEP are now working together to ensure local projects are prioritised for funding.
Stephen Catchpole, Chief Executive of SEMLEP, said: “We are essentially competing with LEPs all across the country to secure funding for the South East Midlands so it make sense for our two LEPs to join forces and we are delighted to be working in partnership with NEP to seek ambitious transport, infrastructure and skills projects to put forward to government.
“The stronger our projects, the greater our chance of success so we have written to key partners, including local authorities, universities and colleges, to invite submissions and are looking for projects that are both ambitious and innovative and which will help us increase growth and create new jobs and new homes across our area.”
Jo Lappin, Chief Executive of NEP went on to say “NEP and SEMLEP have a strong history of working together to secure the best deal for our geographies, so developing a joint Local Growth Fund is the next logical step. Our areas can make a significant contribution to national economic growth, so making sure that our businesses and people have the right transport, housing, employment, broadband and skills infrastructure is essential, if this potential is to be maximised.”
For this third round of Local Growth Deals the government is encouraging ambitious projects which will include investment from business leaders alongside public contribution.
Potential projects must be submitted to SEMLEP using a bespoke Pro Forma by no later than 13th June, 2016. SEMLEP and NEP are now in the process of procuring consultancy support, through a competitive process, to provide an independent appraisal of project proposals.
In line with the LEP Assurance Framework submitted projects will be appraised and prioritised to form a SEMLEP and NEP programme for the growth deal.
LEPs across England have been given until 21st July, 2016 to submit project proposals to government.
Local Growth Fund background
The country’s 39 LEPs have shared £7.3 billion from the Government’s growth fund deals since 2015.
SEMLEP was previously allocated £79.3m in round 1 of the Local Growth Fund and £46.7m in round 2 to deliver jobs and infrastructure across the SEMLEP area.
The first round of projects, which started in 2015/16 are now nearing completion and will soon be delivering the outcomes of new homes and jobs for local communities. All of the funds received by SEMLEP during 2015/16 have been spent and, as a result SEMLEP received an additional £2m from Government for investment in broadband. More details are available on the Growth Deals page on the SEMLEP website.
Across both Growth Deals, NEP has been allocated £63.5m support infrastructure across Northamptonshire. Currently 11 projects are being supported enabling much needed improved access on the main arterial roads within Northamptonshire, improved educational facilities and leading to the creation of jobs and new homes.
In addition NEP has also been awarded a further £50M of Public Works Loan Board funding as part of the Growth Deal, to bring forward key infrastructure developments across Northamptonshire.
Like SEMLEP, NEP was also able to meet its full commitments for 2015/16 resulting in an additional £2m for investment in broadband totalling £20.8m expenditure for the year.
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