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Thursday, 02 July 2015

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Businesses urged to give views on spending plans

CUMBRIA Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is inviting businesses to comment on its proposals for spending £78m of Euro funding.

The LEP has drawn up a draft plan setting out how it intends to prioritise its allocation from the European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund over the next seven years.

The consultation document says: “The funds will allow the LEP to kick-start priority interventions, levering in additional funding and delivering real outcomes in terms of jobs, skills, new businesses.”

The draft plan sets out three areas that the LEP sees as priorities:

Smart growth – concentrating growth on knowledge-based sectors, ensuring high-value jobs;

Sustainable growth – supporting sustainable development, investing in low-carbon goods and services in a way that decouples economic growth from environmental damage;

Inclusive growth – respecting the need to involve all members of society, ensuring that opportunities are available to all.

LEPs were set up by the Coalition Government to bring together business people and the public sector to lead economic regeneration in the English regions.

They have private sector-led boards and are, in effect, replacements for the previous government’s regional development agencies, although they have lacked the funding that development agencies had.

That is changing with the allocation of European structural funds.

The Government chooses how this money is distributed and has pledged it will be allocated to LEP areas rather than spent by Whitehall. Nationally, £5bn is going to LEPs between 2014 to 2020, of which £500m is intended for social inclusion projects.

Cumbria LEP’s draft plan is online at www.cumbrialep.co.uk/european-funding/2014-2020-programme, along with consultation questions and details of how to respond.

The consultation closes at noon tomorrow (Friday).


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