LEP supports £150 million investment in Leeds region

Over 100 businesses have benefitted from two major funding programmes coordinated by the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership.

These projects could attract over £150m of public and private sector investment, which aims to create 3500 short and long term jobs.

Since January 2013, a range of projects across the city region have benefited from this joint investment by grants from the Business Growth Programme (BGP) and loans from the Growing Places Fund (GPF).

The Business Growth Programme has supported 110 companies based throughout the City Region and representing a range of business sectors. This is expected to create over 1200 new jobs within the City Region.

Businesses in the LEP’s key growth sectors have been encouraged to apply for BGP grant funding of between £10,000 and £1m and to date this popular programme has received over 700 telephone and website enquiries.

The £25.7m programme, set up from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, has committed over £8m in grants to date, with many projects in the pipeline awaiting approval. Businesses are expected to have private finance to invest alongside the Business Growth Programme and for every £1 of grant, businesses should be able to provide £4 of private sector investment.

From the £8m granted from the Business Growth Programme, private sector match funding has resulted in a further £48m of private sector investment secured within the city region.

Feedback from applicants has highlighted how straight forward the application process is and how quickly the grants can be approved.

Alongside the 110 companies supported by the Business Growth Programme, another LEP fund is providing businesses with loans, to kick-start stalled infrastructure projects. Applications to the LEP’s Growing Places Fund closed last year, having received over 40 expressions of interest.

With 10 loan applications still in the pipeline, the LEP has now agreed loans for 6 companies in the City Region committing over £15m and potentially levering in a further £90m of private sector investment.

It is expected that through the loan funding to these six projects, over 1800 short terms jobs could be created, mainly in the construction industry, with the potential to create an additional 500 long term jobs.

The Leeds City Region Growing Places Fund was able to provide loans of between £250,000 to £5 million to businesses in the region who could demonstrate that the funding would result in job creation, carbon reduction and economic growth. The two most recent projects to have been approved will regenerate land in Glasshoughton and improve the derelict Unity Hall building in Wakefield.

Cllr Wakefield, Leader of Leeds City Council and Chair of the Leeds City Region Investment Panel said: “It is fantastic to see this funding being used to support innovative and enterprising projects across the city region.

“Even through the recent tough economic times, businesses within the region have continued to have ambitious growth plans and look for support to put these plans into action.

“I am delighted that the Leeds City Region Partnership is supporting economic growth by giving businesses the hand up they need to achieve their aspirations.”

Roger Marsh, chair of the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership added: “With the recent news that business confidence in the region is on the up, the impact of these two funding programmes is all the more relevant in driving economic growth.

“It is essential that the Local Enterprise Partnership engages with businesses from across the region and listens to what they need to develop our future economic landscape. This positive news today demonstrates we are heading in the right direction.”

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