By Daniel Hunter
Latest figures show how targeted government public funds have been used to attract triple the amount of private sector investment, Communities Minister Kris Hopkins announced today (Wednesday) as he praised the role of local leaders in turning around local economies.
The Minister used the latest figures from the Government’s Growing Places Fund, which reveal that £650million of Government funding has secured a further £2.6billion of extra investment with £1.8billion from private sector partners, to show the strides local economies are now making.
That investment is funding 305 local projects across the country which the partnerships believe will create up to 77,000 new homes, 5.3 million square metres of retail, industrial and office floor space, 217,000 jobs and 5,300 businesses.
Local Enterprise Partnerships in the East Midlands used £70million of Growing Places Fund to bring a further £80million in private sector investment as well as an extra £40million in public sector funds. The money is being used to fund 36 projects, build 16,000 houses and create 1.3 million square metres of commercial floorspace to attract new business and boost local jobs.
The funding is being strategically targeted at projects that are transforming previously idle areas into prime economic sites bringing new businesses and jobs to local economies, as part of the Government’s commitment to ensuring that Britain continues to attract the investment and companies that will keep it competitive on a world stage.
For instance Leicester and Leicestershire Local Enterprise Partnership is using a loan of £982,000 from their Growing Places Fund to unlock £10.25million in private sector investment to support the Abbey Quarter project. The loan will provide an access road necessary to bring forward an initial development of 81 homes (a mix of outright sale and shared equity). In addition this initial development will create a gateway into the whole of the Wolsey Island site. Unlocking the Abbey Quarter site will then act as the catalyst to open up the whole site for development which could accommodate a further 750 -1,000 homes. This project is currently underway and is expected to be completed by January 2014.
The Government has transformed the landscape of economic development by creating 39 local enterprise partnerships based on genuine economic areas. Local business and council leaders now have the freedom and resources to turn back the tide of bureaucratic centralisation with new tools and levers to grow economies.
Communities Minister Kris Hopkins said: “I believe that local economies should be led locally, with a focus on bringing private sector investment right across the country. That’s why we gave local enterprise partnerships not just the money but the powers to end their dependency on Whitehall and drive their own economies.
“I am pleased to see them using this funding with energy and imagination to support businesses, create jobs, and make all regions of Britain a great place to do business.”
David Frost, chair of the Local Enterprise Partnership Network said: “The Growing Places Fund has been instrumental in unlocking key investment sites across England, ensuring that much needed local growth is brought forward.
“This unique nature of the revolving fund has enabled Local Enterprise Partnerships to focus on key local projects.”
Several projects have already been completed, with many more in the pipeline:
- Cheshire & Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership is supporting a £10.6 million project to build access road and infrastructure to open up a key area for development which is expected to create 97,800 sqm of industrial floorspace and 1,800 jobs.
- Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership is supporting the £9.25million redevelopment of Teanlowe Shopping Centre which expects to deliver 3,900 sqm of industrial/retail floorspace.
- Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership is helping fund the Expert Tooling and Automation Project that will enable the business to develop new advanced manufacturing technologies to access new markets in the automotive and aerospace sectors. It will lead to the creation of 21 new jobs and the safeguarding of 10 existing jobs.
- Greater Cambridgeshire and Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership allocated a £3million loan to the Huntingdon Link Road and open up 3,000 sqm of industrial/retail floorspace and 100 housing units.
Local enterprise partnerships are also playing a key role as the architects of growth and jobs through their 24 Enterprise Zones. To date the Zones have attracted 180 businesses, secured half a billion pounds of private sector investment and created nearly 4,000 jobs. Earlier this week the Government announced an extra £100 million that will enable Enterprise Zones to build on this early success, complete key infrastructure projects and continue creating the conditions for ongoing, long term investment.
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