Sheffield LEP seeks £25m Government growth funding
The Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has asked for a £25m cash injection from the Government.
In a bid submitted to the fourth round of the Regional Growth Fund (RGF), the LEP requested investment in exchange for up to £105m of private investment, which could be stimulated by Government support.
The LEP said £25m funding could unlock business growth and help create at least 1,800 private sector jobs by March 2016.
Sheffield City Region won a previous investment of £25m from the last round of the RGF for its ‘Unlocking Business Investment’ scheme.
Approximately 65 projects are currently underway as part of this programme, with the first contracts due to be signed in April this year.
LEP board member, Chris Scholey, commented on how further RGF investment could boost business growth in the region.
He 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 the LEP is granted funding, it will mostly be spent on supporting business growth in the modern manufacturing and technology sectors.
David Grey, LEP board member, 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.”
Sheffield City Region’s chairman James Newman also commented: “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.”