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£1.4 billion added to Leeds City Region economy

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04 Dec 2015

Work by Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and its partners over the past four years will add an extra £1.4 billion to the Leeds City Region’s economic output by 2020 and has already helped create an additional 3,200 jobs for local people.

4,300 businesses have benefitted from LEP finance and support, and this combined activity has unlocked circa £491 million of private sector investment in the region. This means that for every £1 of taxpayers’ money secured by the LEP, some £10 in economic output has been generated in line with the ambitions in the LEP’s overall Strategic Economic Plan.

This was achieved with comparatively modest levels of government investment, before the LEP received the funding secured through the £1 billion Growth Deal it agreed with Government in July 2014. As a result of this Growth Deal investment, the LEP and its partners are expected to create an additional 20,600 jobs and add an extra £2.1 billion a year to the City Region economy by 2031, above and beyond current projected growth.

The achievements of the LEP and its partners over the past four years are detailed in its first impact report, launched yesterday.

Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the LEP commented: “Our impact report demonstrates how effective partnership working between the public and private sectors is making a real difference to the Leeds City Region economy, people’s lives and businesses. However, for me this is not job done but job well begun.

“We have set ourselves an ambitious goal of unlocking extraordinary, sustained growth that benefits everyone who lives and works in our City Region, ultimately making the region an overall contributor to northern and national prosperity. Our achievements so far give us a firm foundation upon which to build a more prosperous future for our residents and businesses - but this is a 20-year job, not a 20-minute job.

“We have shown what we can deliver with relatively modest resources. Now, as a result of our Growth Deal, EU funding and other public and private sector investment we’ve brought into the region, we have the resources to deliver our ambitious vision for growth at a scale unprecedented in 10 years of economic partnership working. I look forward to continuing working with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, local councils and with Government to ensure the Leeds City Region fulfils its enormous potential as an economic powerhouse in its own right.”

The LEP’s work focuses on four key priorities: supporting growing businesses, developing a skilled and resilient workforce, making the City Region more resource efficient and delivering the physical and transport infrastructure for growth. Support for small and medium-sized businesses is a particular priority, and to date the LEP’s grant and loan funding programmes have provided direct investment for hundreds of businesses across the City Region, with £29 million invested so far to help businesses expand and create new jobs.

According to official government figures, the Leeds City Region has recorded 15% more businesses than in 2011, growth that is faster than the UK average. Exports in the City Region have also seen an increase of 3% since 2011, bucking national trends and showing the resilience, ambition and strength of businesses in the region.

The LEP’s international team has helped secure 31 inward investment projects which have created almost 800 jobs in the City Region. The Leeds City Region’s share of UKI foreign direct investment (FDI) projects has risen by 145% from its 2013 ranking, and the City Region is now seen as the primary location outside of London for inward investment.

Skills and apprenticeships programmes have created 2,000 apprenticeships for young people, and enabled 2,700 other young people to move into employment, education or training opportunities. Investment has been secured to help businesses and households save money on their energy bills, and create new resource-efficient energy infrastructure. Meanwhile, significant funding has been secured through the LEP Growth Deal enabling the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to deliver a £1.4 billion programme of transport improvements across West Yorkshire and York that will support growth and job creation.

Councillor Peter Box, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority said: “We are unique among combined authorities in having the LEP as a member and the successes highlighted in this report illustrate what can be achieved by this close partnership-working between the public and private sectors.

“We’ve shown that in the Leeds City Region devolution works and results in improved economic outcomes quicker and at better value to the taxpayer.

“What we now need to do is ensure we continue to build on the powers we have already secured that give us greater influence over investment decisions on skills, transport, housing and support for businesses and deliver further success for the people of West Yorkshire and the City Region.”

The Prime Minister, David Cameron MP said: “The Partnership has achieved phenomenal success here and - thanks to devolved Government funding and strong local leadership - it has helped 4,000 businesses to grow and has created 3,200 jobs and 2,000 apprenticeships. This really shows the Northern Powerhouse in action and is a boost for the city region, the North and the country as a whole.

“And this is just the start. With £627m of Government funding available through the LEP’s six-year Growth Deal, and additional investment made to the 20-year Transport Fund here, even more opportunities will be opening up for people in this region.”

Minister for Local Growth and the Northern Powerhouse, James Wharton MP said: “This report shows the incredible impact Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership has had over the past four years, delivering a billion-pound boost to the local economy, landing lucrative private sector investment and delivering thousands of jobs for local people. This is testament to the ambition of businesses and civic leaders in the area and shows that putting more powers and resources in the hands of local people is the best way to transform the local economy. That is why this Government is fully committed to the devolution agenda and I am sure this willingness and drive to work together will continue to deliver for the people of the region and the rest of the Northern Powerhouse.”

Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council, said: “These are very impressive results for Leeds and the City Region through comparatively modest investment in the LEP and testament to the close partnership work we have here. This is a loud and clear demonstration of just what can be achieved if the resources and decision-making powers are directly available to the areas in which they are being invested. I look forward to the realisation of our full potential in cementing the Leeds City Region as one of the most successful in the country once we have the further devolution we need.”

The full LEP impact report is available to download here.