The North East Local Enterprise Partnership has been allocated £30 million from the Regional Growth Fund to develop an infrastructure fund. By targeting those projects with the greatest economic returns the fund aims to create at least 2,300 new jobs over 10 years.
The North East LEP will lever in matched funding from the private sector and bring together other monies under its local control, including the North East LEP’s existing £25m Growing Places Fund, to maximise its ability to unlock strategic infrastructure investments across County Durham, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear.
The North East LEP’s infrastructure fund (NEIF) will be open to private sector and public sector applicants. Decisions will be made according to criteria which will reflect the economic returns from the investment whilst also taking into account the benefits to the least advantaged communities.
Information on how to apply and the criteria against which bids will be assessed will be issued in time for the fund to begin spending in the next financial year. In the meantime the North East LEP’s call for projects to apply to its existing Growing Places Fund remains open until Friday 9th November 2012.
The success of the bid reflects the joint working of all the local authorities with the North East LEP team during an intense bid-writing period in early June, supported pro bono by PwC’s local and national teams.
This joint and collaborative approach is already paying significant dividends in other areas such as the Enterprise Zone, and the LEP Board remains committed to strengthening the relationships that underpin this success.
Speaking about the success of the RGF bid Paul Woolston, chair of the North East LEP said: “Timely and targeted infrastructure development is at the heart of a thriving, outward looking regional economy. The RGF support for NELEP’s infrastructure fund recognises that private and public investment is critical to realise opportunities in the area.
“The fund will create more than 2,333 new jobs in the North East over its lifetime and bring £30m of immediate investment into the region. NELEP’s investment panel will welcome applications from private and public partners and offer a mix of grant where necessary but predominantly will be focusing on extending the scope and term of its loan funding.”
Cllr Simon Henig, deputy chair of the North East LEP said: “The infrastructure fund will shape future investment in the region’s key sectors, helping us to grow our international presence in offshore, automotive, digital, professional and business areas.
“Public and private sectors will benefit from the wide-ranging remit of this fund. It will help to drive the economy not only of this area, but of the UK. I’m delighted that through strong joint working the LEP will be supporting even more investment to boost jobs and growth.”
Further information from Christine Holland, Holland PR & Marketing Ltd. Tel 01670 790246 or 07711 698246.