Leeds businesses are in line for a major cash boost through a multi-million pound ‘war chest’ handed to local enterprise bosses to support growth.
The Leeds City Region local enterprise partnership (LEP) will be able to hand out grants to local firms from next April after winning millions of pounds from the Government’s regional growth fund.
Leeds City Council also secured money for a flood defence scheme at Middleton that will involve the redevelopment of an adjoining piece of land.
And healthcare giant DePuy has won funding to create a research centre in Leeds to develop and test new products.
Neil McLean, chairman of the Leeds City Region LEP, said approval of its funding bid was proof of the confidence Ministers had in the region, adding; “It is a reflection of their and our desire to empower businesses and to enable us to realise our vision of a dynamic economy.”
In total, more than £100 million is to be handed to private sector projects across Yorkshire to support 15,000 jobs from the flagship £1 billion fund.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg hailed “a good day for business in Yorkshire”, with 15 of the region’s 61 bids to Whitehall emerging successful.
Nonetheless, there is concern Yorkshire firms have failed to secure their fair share of the money available.
Yorkshire’s total grant of £101m is dwarfed by the amount of money headed elsewhere – the West Midlands will receive £184m and the North West £150m. The North East will receive £170 million for 29 projects, creating or securing some 37,000 jobs.
Business Minister Michael Fallon said the Government’s selection panel – chaired by Lord Heseltine - could only judge the quality of the bids before it.
“There are two really strong programme bids there from the Leeds LEP, which will provide an awful lot of support for small businesses across the region. So it isn’t just the number of projects that have come through,” he said. “But the process is driven by the bids we receive.”