�84m European Funded projects to start in Leeds City Region

Over £84 million of European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) activity is moving towards delivery across Leeds City Region following assurances from the government on the future of EU funding.

Contracts in the region of £42m grant funding are now being finalised to help businesses become more competitive through projects including digital skills and export support, improvements to broadband infrastructure, support to help people move into work and to make businesses’ operations more resource efficient. This will be matched by a further £42 million from other public and private resources to support businesses and communities across the Leeds City Region.

The government set out assurances on the future of EU funding earlier this month, which included a commitment that all projects signed before the Autumn Statement later this year will be fully funded, even if these projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU. In addition, the government is assessing whether funding for projects which may be signed off after the Autumn Statement, but while the UK remains a member of the EU, could also receive funding. Further details on this funding is expected from the government ahead of the Autumn Statement.

Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Chair of the ESIF Sub–Committee said:

“The European funding we secured as part of our €389m* ESIF allocation in 2014 is an important tool to help us deliver our ambitions set out in our revised Strategic Economic Plan for the region to transform the economy and create thousands of new jobs. The sooner we can start delivering on these important projects, the sooner we will start to feel the benefits of a stronger, prosperous and thriving City Region economy at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse.”

“This confirmation from government means we can start to deliver vital support for businesses that we know is in demand in our region, such as a new start-up finance for new and early-stage firms with growth ambitions and help for businesses to explore opportunities in international markets.”

Cllr Peter Box, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority said:

“We are pleased some of our key projects have the reassurance and security that they can start delivering over the next three years, particularly those that will be helping to support communities in the local area.

“What is now important, is similar reassurances from government on how quickly our further planned activity can also progress and we will be seeking clarity from Ministers ahead of the Autumn Statement.”

A further £60m of ESIF projects are currently in the appraisal stage and could be considered for funding approval prior to the Autumn Statement later this year.

Examples of the activity that is now able to start delivery includes the Games Lab project. Delivered by Creative England, the aim is to provide investment and support to help companies in the sector to develop, manage and commercialise innovative games and enable the region to develop first mover advantage in emerging games technologies.

Innovate2Succeed (I2S) will provide tailored support to SMEs to help them enhance their innovation management capability. Delivered by RTC North, this activity forms part of a pilot programme being delivered across 12 LEP areas in the country as part of the Innovate UK’s agenda to increase innovation management capacity in UK’s small businesses.

The Step in to Construction project, led by Leeds College of Building, aims to raise the profile of the Construction Industry by engaging with potential individuals to attract them into training, construction and related industries, linked to Leeds City Region building programmes.

To find out more about the Leeds City Region ESIF activity, please click here.

* Based on current exchange rate approx. £303m