Leeds City Region One year on
Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) chairman Neil McLean looks at the organisation's achievements in its first year of operation.
It has been one year since the partnership's first board meeting and I am happy to report that in the past few months we have achieved some real milestones.
We supported businesses across the city region with their bids to the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) round one and two and as a result our economy is going to benefit from more that £50m of additional funding, including over £3m for SME advanced manufacturing bids, which we packaged into one successful bid.
We have secured £36m investment for infrastructure, energy generation and improving apprenticeship and training opportunities through the Growing Places Fund and over £10m of private sector investment for improving the energy efficiency of 20,000 homes through the partnership's Domestic Energy Efficiency Programme (DEEP).
Our bid for up to £15m government funding to roll out ultra-fast broadband access in Bradford and Leeds was also successful. This will benefit 88,000 homes and more than 16,000 businesses, including full wireless coverage within both city centres and along key transport corridors into and between both cities.
Now we are stepping up delivery further by negotiating with government for more powers and flexibilities through our City Deal proposals. We are anticipating to conclude these discussions after the May elections, resulting in additional powers and responsibilities to take decisions locally on investment priorities and funding.
In addition, we:
• launched 5-3-1, our first business-to-business campaign to increase investment in skills, business mentoring, work placements and apprenticeships
• brought together a panel of experts from across the city region to help deliver of our aspiration of a low carbon city region
• are developing a bold campaign to support our businesses to export more
• launched the Leeds City Region Enterprise Zone, which help attract new investment and support long-term growth
• continue to provide support and guidance to businesses with their RGF bids, including endorsement of bids that reflect our strategic priorities
Finally, businesses have been telling us how fragmented business support currently is having an impact on starting or growing their business and we are responding to this by developing an online tool to help businesses find targeted business support information in one place.
We've had a very busy and challenging year but we have learned a lot and gained much support for our business and the economy.
As we moving further into the delivery of our plan, no doubt things are going to get more challenging. We are determined nevertheless to ensure that we work closely with partners, businesses and other LEPs to broaden opportunities and to collectively act in support of a stronger economy, greater skills provision, better infrastructure and more opportunities for investment.
24th Apr 2012