LEPs join forces to boost local economy

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Two Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) have joined forces to bid for a slice of the government’s £1.8 billion Local Growth Fund, funding which would further boost the South East Midlands economy which includes Northamptonshire.

Government announced a third round of Growth Deals in its March 2016 budget and South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) and Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP) are now working together to ensure local projects are prioritised for funding.

Stephen Catchpole, Chief Executive of SEMLEP, said: “We are essentially competing with LEPs all across the country to secure funding for the South East Midlands so it make sense for our two LEPs to join forces and we are delighted to be working in partnership with NEP to seek ambitious transport, infrastructure and skills projects to put forward to government.

“The stronger our projects, the greater our chance of success so we have written to key partners, including local authorities, universities and colleges, to invite submissions and are looking for projects that are both ambitious and innovative and which will help us increase growth and create new jobs and new homes across our area.”

Jo Lappin, Chief Executive of NEP, added: “NEP and SEMLEP have a strong history of working together to secure the best deal for our geographies, so developing a joint Local Growth Fund is the next logical step. Our areas can make a significant contribution to national economic growth, so making sure that our businesses and people have the right transport, housing, employment, broadband and skills infrastructure is essential, if this potential is to be maximised.”

For this third round of Local Growth Deals the government is encouraging ambitious projects which will include investment from business leaders alongside public contribution.

Potential projects must be submitted to SEMLEP using a bespoke Pro Forma by no later than 13th June, 2016. SEMLEP and NEP are now in the process of procuring consultancy support, through a competitive process, to provide an independent appraisal of project proposals.

In line with the LEP Assurance Framework submitted projects will be appraised and prioritised to form a SEMLEP and NEP programme for the growth deal.