Partners working to get a slice of £1.8bn

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

The 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.

SEMLEP chief executive Stephen Catchpole said: “We are essentially competing with partnerships across the country to secure funding for the South East Midlands, so it make sense for our two partnerships to join forces. 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.”

NEP chief executive Jo Lappin said: “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 by no later than June 13.

SEMLEP and NEP are now in the process of procuring consultancy support, through a competitive process, to provide an independent appraisal of project proposals.

Submitted projects will be appraised and prioritised to form a SEMLEP and NEP programme for the growth deal.

SEMLEP was previously allocated £79.3m in the first round of the Local Growth Fund and £46.7m in round two to deliver jobs and infrastructure across the SEMLEP area.

The first round of projects, which started in 2015-16 are now nearing completion and will soon be delivering the outcomes of new homes and jobs for local communities.

All of the funds received by SEMLEP during 2015-16 have been spent and, as a result SEMLEP received an additional £2m from Government for investment in broadband.

More details are available on the Growth Deals page on the SEMLEP website.