Leeds City Region LEP and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority have helped create almost 5,500 jobs and safeguard a further 22,000 thanks to investment or more than £1bn from the Government’s Growth Deal.
£335m Growth Deal funding has been committed by the Combined Authority and LEP since 2015. This investment has helped kick-start housing, regeneration and transport schemes across the City Region, delivered world-class new college facilities for young people and apprentices, and supported local small and medium-sized businesses to grow and create jobs.
It has also unlocked a further £342m of public and private sector investment for the region and opened up land for over 1,900 homes to be built so far.
Building on these achievements, the Combined Authority approved an initial allocation of £130m Growth Deal funding for an additional 10 schemes at its annual meeting. Like the Growth Deal as a whole, these schemes aim to support economic growth, job creation and transport improvements across the whole of Leeds City Region.
Among the approved schemes are a new inland port in Leeds to transport freight into the city from the Humber estuary; the development of new housing and commercial sites in Wakefield city centre and Halifax town centre; further development in the Leeds City Region’s Enterprise Zone sites in Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield; and the delivery of 19km of new, high quality cycling infrastructure across West Yorkshire.
Roger Marsh, Chair of the LEP, which agreed the Growth Deal with Government in 2014, said:“These figures illustrate just how much we’ve achieved through our ground-breaking Growth Deal from a virtual standing start just three years ago.
“Much of our Growth Deal investment in these first few years has gone towards early-stage project development to kick-start housing, development and transport schemes that otherwise would not have happened. This makes the job creation and safeguarding figures all the more impressive, and as the other 96 Growth Deal-funded projects in the pipeline move forward and others are approved, we’re well on course to deliver close to 20,000 extra jobs in the region as a result of our Deal with Government.”
Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority which is responsible for approving all Growth Deal investment, added:“The impact of our Growth Deal is becoming increasingly visible to local people and communities as new housing and transport infrastructure begins to be built, fantastic new college facilities open their door to students, and businesses expand into new premises, creating jobs and apprenticeships.
“With so many transport and growth-boosting projects in the region still requiring investment, I am very pleased that our Growth Deal is creating opportunities for other projects to come forward for consideration by the Combined Authority. With only three more years of Growth Deal funding left however, we will continue to press Government for a mayoral devolution deal and long-term funding settlement post-Brexit so that there is no let-up in badly needed investment in the City Region.”
The LEP agreed the largest Growth Deal in the country with Government in 2014.
The overall deal provides around £695million of devolved Government investment, made up of £516million local growth funding secured through three funding rounds plus £173.5million Department for Transport funding to improve transport in Leeds, which was announced as part of the deal.
Unlike anywhere else in the country at that time, the City Region also secured up to a further £420million through its Growth Deal to establish an overall £1billion West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund to improve road, rail and other transport links across the region over a 20-year period.
Minister for Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth Jake Berry said: “This government is committed to building a country that works for everyone and our investment of £695m in the Leeds City Region, the largest growth deal in the country, is one of many examples of how we are boosting growth by providing homes, increasing employment and supporting education across the Northern Powerhouse.
“The new Leeds City College campus at Quarry Hill, made possible with a £33m investment, is the kind of innovative project Local Growth Funding has made possible so that our young people are given the best environment to succeed no matter where they are in the UK.”