Region on course to exceed Local Growth Fund targets

Lou Cordwell

The Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (GM LEP) is on course to fulfil a five-year commitment to delivering jobs and economic development through the Government’s Local Growth Fund (LGF).

The Government awarded a total of £493.5m over three Growth Deals to GM LEP between 2015-2021 for capital projects that will benefit the local area and economy.

The outcomes agreed in the original deal with government were for 6,250 jobs to be created and for the public sector investment to generate £210m of private sector investment.

Going beyond the levels agreed with government, LGF investment in Greater Manchester is expected to deliver 7,000 jobs and £364m in private sector investment in the next few years.

These are set to be generated from skills, capital, economic development and regeneration (ED&R) and transport projects.

To date, 4,841 jobs have been created and £240m secured in private sector investment.

The current spending forecast suggests that GM LEP will have fully expended the LGF by March 31, 2021, in line with the grant conditions set by government.

Of the £493m provided, £351m is being invested to support transport-related projects and £141m to support Skills Capital and ED&R.

Funding allocated through Local Growth Fund includes:

  • £10m towards the launch of the £40m Greater Manchester and Cheshire Life Sciences Fund in partnership with Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership
  • £27m towards The Mayor’s Cycling and Walking Challenge Fund – a £160m fund being used to deliver the first phase of the Bee Network, which is the walking and cycling element of the Our Network plan to transform Greater Manchester’s transport system. Once completed, The Bee Network will cover circa 1,800 miles and be the longest, integrated, planned network in the country, connecting every neighbourhood of Greater Manchester
  • £61.7m towards the multimillion-pound transformation of Stockport’s bus station into a modern transport interchange, part of a £1bn investment programme for Stockport town centre led by Stockport Council
  • £10.296m towards the Rochdale M62 J19 (South Heywood Link Road) to unlock access to existing and planned employment and housing sites at South Heywood
  • £10m towards the Manchester City Council Great Ancoats Street improvement scheme
  • £14.9m towards SODA, the new School of Digital Arts at Manchester Metropolitan University
  • £5m towards the £25m Christabel Pankhurst Institute for Health Technology Research and Innovation
  • A £3m provision for business funding and support via GC Angels and the Greater Manchester Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

Lou Cordwell, chair of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Supporting the creation of thousands of jobs and unlocking future economic growth and prosperity, the funding provided to GM LEP through the Growth Deals with government has been invested to deliver maximum potential impact.

“It has provided an opportunity to deliver transport infrastructure improvements supporting our low carbon ambitions, new centres of economic growth, world class education facilities, and support for businesses.”

She added: “We look forward to building on these foundations for economic growth as we deliver against the strategies within the Greater Manchester Economic Vision.”

First announced in July 2014, Growth Deals provide funds to Local Enterprise Partnerships for projects that benefit local areas and economies.

Each of the 38 Local Enterprise Partnerships across England was invited to submit a Strategic Economic Plan by March 31, 2014, outlining their local priorities to maximise growth.

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