Business Growth Programme companies welcome Deputy Chief Whip to the region


The Government’s Deputy Chief Whip, Don Foster MP, is visiting two companies in Wakefield today that have benefitted from investment through the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) Business Growth Programme - financed through the Government’s Regional Growth Fund.

The visit coincided with an announcement that four Yorkshire companies were successful in Round 5 of the Regional Growth Fund, including Leeds City Region companies, Anglia Metal and Really Useful Products, both based in Normanton.

The news of the aid for local companies was welcomed by Wakefield Council Leader and LEP Board member Cllr Peter Box CBE who said:

“It is great to see local businesses supported to grow. This is the type of practical local and regional investment partnership that we need to further develop, and I am committed to supporting such efforts in Wakefield and the region.”

The LEP’s £26m Business Growth Programme opened in February 2013 offering grants between £10,000 and £500,000 to businesses in key growth sectors within the Leeds City Region.

The Programme has now allocated grants worth £15m to over 200 companies across the City Region. It has directly led to the creation of at least 2,268 jobs and expects to add a further £140m in private sector investment to the regional economy. Around 78% of the companies who have received BGP funding are manufacturing businesses and the majority are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The Rt Hon Don Foster MP was accompanied by LEP board member Stephen Harris on his visit to printing firm, AJS North, and clothing specialist, Xamax. These companies received BGP grants of £371,000 and £18,000 respectively, to help them expand and create more jobs.

As a result of its grant funding, AJS North has expanded and relocated into the Leeds City Region after buying its Featherstone unit in Wakefield, creating nearly 20 new jobs for local people.

The company produces high quality self-adhesive labels for a range of different companies and relies heavily on local supply chains.

Xamax, meanwhile, used their funding to expand floor space and purchase new machinery. This has allowed them to dramatically increase their capacity and production speeds, trebling rugby kit sales and developing plans to increase export numbers by providing kits for amateur rugby league teams across Europe.

Round 6 of the Government’s Regional Growth Fund is expected to open this summer. Details will be available on the LEP’s website when they are announced.