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Council helps to kickstart finance scheme to help growth and jobs
Bradford Council is chipping in to kick-start a new £500 million investment fund aimed at boosting growth across the Leeds City Region.
The new Economic Investment Fund will aim to provide up to £500 million of private and public sector funding to plug the gap left by the banks in a bid to drive development opportunities, accelerate economic growth and create jobs in the region, which includes Bradford.
The fund, backed by Bradford, Leeds, Wakefield and York councils, is set to start with £50 million of mezzanine finance (a form of loan-based funding ) shortly, with plans to make £400 million available when the main fund starts later this year.
Senior figures from the supporting councils believe that by generating further private institutional funds, the new pot of money could eventually reach £500 million, serving the city region, whose economy is larger than eight EU member states.
The fund was unveiled at the MIPIM international propeory conference in Cannes, France, by Bradford Council chief excecutive Tony Reeves, who said there was a collective belief across the city region that its economies had to grow faster.
Mr Reeves said: “We have said that if we pool our money, and take a different approach to risk, we can grow more quickly. This in turn will create further momentum, and that’s vital.”
Factors driving the new fund’s formation were a lack of banking funds; a need for mezzanine finance and a need for the public sector to stimulate new classes of investment.
Mr Reeves said: “We want our fund to link to other funds that will attract economic investment and unlock risk. We want to intervene with the private sector to stimulate growth. That’s our ambition. It’s about growth for the city region.”
The fund will see the four local authorities financially backing it but it will be run by an independent fund manager and have match funding from the Growing Places Fund.