Business leaders are bidding for a slice of a £2 billion Government fund to boost the Leeds City Region economy, which includes Bradford, by a quarter and create thousands of jobs.
In what it claims is a game-changing proposal, the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership has today submitted its Strategic Economic Plan aimed at securing a share of the Local Growth Fund to unlock local potential and make the city region ‘the growth engine of the North’.
The LEP says its plan, in addition to boosting economic growth, will shave £675 million off the nation’s benefits bill.
It proposes targeted investment to improve transport connections, including maximising opportunities from the HS2 rail project; create more better-quality jobs for young people; and double housebuilding in the city region by 2021.
The LEP is aiming to deliver £5.2 billion in additional economic output, 62,000 extra jobs, as well as the benefits savings.
The plan also includes an ‘Energy Hub’ to update the local energy infrastructure, improve efficiency and reduce the cost of doing business, and programmes to boost private sector growth and innovation, including extending the LEP’s Business Growth Programme which to date has helped 200 small and medium firms grow and create about 2,000 jobs.
LEP chairman Roger Marsh said: “This is a game-changing moment for our city region. We genuinely believe that nowhere is better placed than right here to rebalance the UK economy and deliver sustained future growth.
“Put simply, for every £1 net we receive from the tax payer, we aim to deliver up to £10 enhanced economic output by 2021.
“Our plan is bold but highly-credible. We need our partners, businesses and individuals to get behind the region and demonstrate to government that we are ready to get to work.”
Submission of the plan comes a day ahead of the inauguration of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, which will be the accountable body for the Local Growth Fund money, working with the LEP.