Tuesday, April 1, 2014

News: LEP submit final Growth Plan to Government

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The Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership has submitted to Government its final Strategic Economic Plan which has set an ambitious target of creating 70,000 new jobs in the Sheffield City Region (SCR) by 2023.


The Government's new model of local economic growth centres around Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), a collaboration between businesses and the local authorities that are placed at the heart of growth in the regions. In response to the Heseltine Review, the Government has charged LEPs with putting together local growth plans that will be the basis on which the Government negotiates deals with each LEP for new levers, resources, funding and flexibility over them.

In the future, LEPs will then be able to bid into a single pot of funding to support their plans.

The LEP's plan specifically asks Government for:

- £155m over the next six years to fund priority infrastructure and transport projects funded through the Sheffield City Region Investment Fund, in addition to the £62m devolved major transport scheme funding already secured for that period

- £38m over the next six years for wider skills programme including a "Skills Bank" to enable businesses to access a range of training and skills options, making it easier for businesses to take on apprentices and graduates and upskill their workforce

- £25m over the next two years to fund better further education and specialist training provision, including upgrades to existing facilities and creating cutting edge academies, including a Glass Academy, a Nuclear Elite College and Rail Engineering Academy

- £21m for 2015/16 to fund a Growth Hub which will offer intensive business support including support for start-ups, business finance, export advice, innovation and attracting inward investment into the City Region

- £500,000 for 2015/16 for a comprehensive HS2 connectivity package which will ensure the benefits of high speed rail are maximised across the City Region

- £11m per year up to 2021 from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund

- Ambitious investment to accelerate house building

James Newman, chairman of the Sheffield City Region LEP, said: "Our Strategic Economic Plan is a ten year strategy to grow the Sheffield City Region's economy. It is based on creating more private sector jobs by ensuring our businesses are encouraged and incentivised to grow.

"We believe that by Government devolving more funding and powers to local business and political leaders, better decisions, better value for money and more effective delivery will be achieved than by relying on national schemes created by and managed from Whitehall.

"Local decisions, made by local people will bring local benefits – which is at the heart of the LEP's vision."

Barnsley Chief Executive Diana Terris, the joint Chair of the LEP Strategic Economic Plan Steering Group, added: "Our Plan asks Government to hand over the powers and funds to enable the Sheffield City Region to make improvements to skills, housing, transport and to create more and better jobs for the Sheffield City Region’s 1.8 million residents.

"The LEP is very confident that Government will recognise this as an opportunity to realise the economic potential of the Sheffield City Region and enable us to contribute much more to the strength and resilience of the UK economy.

"Through our Plan, the Sheffield City Region is asking Government to support us as we need to compete in global and national markets. Our Plan will ensure that the benefits can be felt by all parts of the Sheffield City Region, both urban and rural.

"Both the public and private sectors have identified what is needed to accelerate economic growth and create new jobs, and this Plan outlines our shared vision."

Sheffield City Region LEP website

Images: Sheffield City Region LEP

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