Saturday, August 15, 2020

£20m ‘new deal’ allocation for Leicester and Leicestershire

The Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership Ltd. (LLEP) has been awarded £20 million as part of the government’s ‘Getting Building’ fund. The funding is to be allocated to key infrastructure projects within Leicester and Leicestershire, in a bid to aid recovery post-COVID.

On 30 June, Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivered a landmark speech in which he outlined plans to “get Britain building again.” The proposals put forward form what he termed a “new deal” for the UK economy, with infrastructure projects at its centre.

To this end, the government has granted Leicester and Leicestershire a £20 million slice of an initial £900 million national pot of funding. The LLEP has been tasked with identifying where this money will be invested, in line with its key economic priorities.

When applying for funding, the LLEP identified £90 million-worth of potential projects. This therefore means that the organisation now has an important task to identify which of these is of the highest priority for investment of the £20 million allocation.

This will be determined based on which projects will have the greatest impact on the region’s economic growth, both in the short and long-term. These considerations will be the key topic for discussion at the next meeting of the LLEP Board of Directors.

The LLEP Board will work closely with central government officials, considering both the economic needs of the region and the government’s criteria around deliverability and strategic objectives.

The LLEP will also lead a local discussion on the programme, working with business leaders and local authorities to ensure that funding is targeted in a manner consistent with the LLEP’s stated aims of creating economic prosperity.

The aim of the programme is to get projects off the ground as quickly as possible. That is why the government requested “shovel-ready” schemes that can start immediately after these discussions conclude. Government officials have stated that a final list of projects should be agreed by 17 July 2020, meaning that turn-around will be extremely fast.

Kevin Harris is Chair of the LLEP Board of Directors. He said: “It’s great to see more investment in the vital infrastructure of Leicester and Leicestershire. I’m eager to start these discussions with my fellow LLEP Board members, and our partners in local and national government.

“We have a wide range of excellent projects ready to go in our region, all of which are deserving of funding. Our decision-making process will therefore be very much focused on the projects that are the highest priority for our region, and will deliver the greatest return on investment for our £20 million allocation.

“In these COVID-19 dominated times, this investment in the future of our economy is welcome. Our over-arching aims will be to help get business moving again, to kick start our economy and to increase prosperity for all who live and work in Leicester and Leicestershire.”

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