LEP Chair, Roger Marsh, and West Yorkshire Combined Authority Chair, Councillor Peter Box, met with the Deputy Prime Minister to officially sign the largest Growth Deal in the country, bringing £1bn of investment into the Leeds City Region.
The Leeds City Region Growth Deal will support the LEP’s priorities to improve local transport links, accelerate housing growth and town centre regeneration, develop a skilled and flexible workforce, support growing businesses and build a resource efficient City Region.
The official Growth Deal signing commits the government to devolving £573 million to the LEP and Combined Authority from April 2015 onwards. This funding will go towards a diverse range of projects and programmes that will contribute towards the LEP’s overall ambition to unlock the City Region’s potential to be the growth engine for the north and rebalance the nation.
Deputy Prime Minister, Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, commented: "I’m delighted to be signing such a significant Growth Deal to Leeds City Region today. It will lead to better transport, more housing and a major boost for jobs in the region. Devolving power and money to the North has been something I’ve been pushing for and this Deal is the perfect example of how local people know what works. It's all about building a stronger economy and a fairer society.
"Signing this at the Northern Futures Summit is a fitting kick-start to a day of debate and discussion about how we support the economy in the North. By 2021, this Deal will create at least 8,000 jobs and allow 1,000 homes to be built."
Roger Marsh, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said:
“This is an historic moment for the Leeds City Region as we officially confirm transformational devolved funding for our businesses and residents. These new powers and pounds will create tens of thousands of new jobs and accelerate economic growth across the entire City Region.
"The signing of this deal confirms the trust that government has in our region and enables decisions to be taken by the people who understand our challenges and opportunities. The LEP is ready to seize this opportunity and ensure that good growth is felt by all who live and work in the Leeds City Region."
Leader of Leeds City Council and WYCA member Councillor Keith Wakefield added: "This landmark deal is testimony to the strength of partnership between the Combined Authority and the LEP. It paves the way for us to develop the investment, infrastructure, housing, training, skills and jobs we need to improve people's lives and for the economy of the Leeds City Region to start the process of fully realising its immense potential."
By 2021, this Growth Deal will bring to Leeds City Region at least 8,000 jobs and up to 1,000 homes. It will also see at least £340million investment in the Leeds City Region economy from public and private partners.
Alongside this Growth Deal funding is a further £420m of devolved funding for the West Yorkshire plus Transport Fund which will enable a £1bn programme of investment in the local transport network over the next 20 years, creating further new jobs and improving connectivity for local residents and businesses.
Other key areas of investment include strategic housing and development projects in Bradford, Leeds, Wakefield, York, Halifax, and Skipton to create good quality, affordable homes.
Further investment in LEP’s highly successful grant funding programme, which has already provided over 300 local businesses with the finance they need to invest, expand and create over 3,000 jobs.
Funding for further education colleges and training providers that will support engineers, manufacturers and other sectors and ensure a world-class learning environment for young people.
Also to follow is an investment to create a resource efficient City Region, including a business support programme to help SMEs reduce energy costs and increase productivity and BioVale, a bio-waste innovation cluster in York supporting firms to develop commercially viable biotechnology.
The signing of this historic deal comes as devolution of further powers and funding to the North is being discussed at the government’s Northern Futures summit, which is taking place in Leeds today. Working with government and all of the major political parties, the LEP will continue to develop plans that will bring prosperity to all.