£88m of support to help drive economic growth announced

Local businesses and communities across the region are to get more than £88m of targeted support to help drive economic growth.

The board of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) approved its UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) investment plan which will now trigger the Government’s release of the money to the region over the next three years.

The board agreed that £42m of the funding should be targeted at helping local businesses with the remainder of the money passed directly to the region’s seven metropolitan authorities – Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

The councils will use that funding for community and neighbourhood infrastructure work, including new green open spaces and to support community groups.

More than half the £42m allocated for business support will be used to deliver specialist programmes that help firms decarbonise their operations, boost productivity and secure additional investment to grow their businesses going forward.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: “These are undoubtedly tough times for our region – we’re battling back post Covid, but we now face cost of living pressures as global supply chain disruption, rising energy costs and the conflict in Ukraine contribute to the economic uncertainty.

“At this challenging time, it’s critical we allocate this very welcome new UKSPF money in a way that delivers for local people, places and businesses. Pre-pandemic, we were the fastest growing region outside of London and we can regain ground by taking the right action.

“Whilst this latest funding is good news, we will continue to lobby Government for additional powers and money – including the agreement of a new Trailblazer Devolution Deal. This is essential if we want to effectively tackle local issues – whether it’s connecting young people to high quality jobs, addressing health inequalities, or building more affordable homes on regenerated brownfield sites. Together, we can change lives for the better here in the West Midlands.”

The UKSPF part of the Government’s Levelling Up agenda and is designed to replace the funding that would have been received from the EU.

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