The Government has announced that Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has been awarded a total of £230million Growth Fund from 2015/16 to unlock the region’s potential as an economic powerhouse.
The funding will help support the over £500m of additional investment in the City Region potentially enabling over 30,000 new jobs.
A transport package totalling over £138million will see £46.6million committed to schemes that will directly support the City Region’s freight and logistics hub ambitions and £52million to enhance the connectivity and attractiveness of the City Centre as a place to visit, do business and live. The remaining £41.4million will see a programme of activity to support growth in the economy.
£41.1million has also been allocated for Skills Capital Funding in 2015/16 and 2016/17 that will enable City Region Colleges to be able to enhance and develop facilities ensuring the regions educational establishments have the facilities to match the demands from business. This includes an allocation for an innovative new £7.5m fund to assist Colleges to invest in being more energy efficient as part of the City Region’s overall “LCR2Energy” ambition to achieve energy self-sufficiency within 20 years. No other part of the Country has secured such a fund.
For businesses, the LEP will also receive funding to establish a Business Growth Hub, in line with Government’s desire to see better co-ordinated business support throughout the country while the Deal confirms a funding allocation to support an International Festival for Business in 2016.
Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool said: “This is great news for Liverpool and means we can build further on the recent transformation of the city centre. The £52milion commitment to these schemes will enable us to push-on with the next phase of our investment strategy.
“Liverpool is an international brand at the heart of the city region and a great place to live, work, do business and to visit. I am delighted that we have secured bringing the International Festival of Business back to the city region for 2016 which recognises the impact that the inaugural IFB has already had in terms of businesses nationally and internationally as well as the opportunity for us to showcase what Liverpool has to offer to businesses and visitors alike.”
Robert Hough, Chair of Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership said: “I am delighted by the news from Government. Receiving £230million from an initial ask of £250million when the Fund was three times oversubscribed is a huge achievement for the City Region and clearly demonstrates that Government has recognised our work and that the structures and governance here provide the capacity to unlock the regions’ potential as an economic powerhouse.
“Both the private and public sectors identified what investment was needed to accelerate our economy such as investment in the Liverpool City Centre; building on our SUPERPORT freight and logistics hub capabilities; our ambition to be energy self-sufficient within 20 years, as well as priorities in skills, innovation and business. The monies awarded to us will now allow us to take these projects forward.
“Through our focus on transport and infrastructure we have been clear that as a LEP growth across the North can only be enabled by the private sector in the identification of key infrastructure projects. We have always stressed the economic potential of the City Region acting as a freight and logistics hub for SUPERPORT and are therefore encouraged that this package recognises the importance of the infrastructure schemes to support this development.
“I also welcome the £41.1million commitment to skills funding. As our economy continues to improve, more companies are facing a shortage of skilled workers so it is vital we equip our future workforce with the necessary talents and training for the jobs of today and tomorrow and the best way to ensure a steady supply of workers is through education.
“But this Growth Deal isn’t the whole story, we are also working tirelessly across boundaries with the private sector and partners on other topics that will enable growth such as High Speed 2, Atlantic Gateway and our three Enterprise Zones, including the recently announcement University Enterprise Zone which was also an Ask in our Growth Deal.”
Robert added: “I believe that this confirms that today’s news is further evidence that the City Region is entering into a new phase of accelerating growth.”
Cllr Phil Davies, Chair of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, said: “This announcement is great news for our City Region. We are an ambitious City Region with huge growth potential. This announcement demonstrates the excellent local delivery partnerships, driven by the public and private sector effectively working together, ensuring maximum impact and value for money for our City Region.
“The announcement also shows that our governance structure as a City Region is working and that by focussing on the strategic projects within the Growth Deal we can bring widespread economic benefit to the whole Liverpool City Region. I particularly welcome is the commitment to skills funding, which will support our young people into work – this is a key priority for the City Region.”
Cllr Liam Robinson, Chair of Merseytravel said: “We warmly welcome the announcement. The funding for the City Region’s top priority transport infrastructure schemes will ensure better connectivity across the City Region and beyond which will not only not only boost our economic potential, but pulls northern cities and towns closer together, helping rebalance the whole UK economy. We will now build on this by working with the private sector to identify the top schemes for a Long Term Rail Strategy for future rounds of investment.”