Money for infrastructure, innovation and growth marked the new Chancellor’s first Autumn Statement – all tied into the need to raise productivity, says the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership.
Philip Hammond’s speech today (Wednesday November 23) held a number of positives for the Midlands Engine; the cross-regional partnership of local authorities, businesses and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) aiming to create 300,000 jobs, improve transport connectivity and add £34billion to the UK economy by 2030.
Now D2N2 – the private sector-led LEP promoting economic and jobs growth across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire – says the region must take up the challenge of increasing productivity, frequently referenced in the Chancellor’s address.
Positive news for the area from the Autumn Statement today included:
- £5million in development funding for the Midlands Rail Hub, based in Birmingham but which will add to rail connectivity for the whole region.
- £20m to support the capital costs for the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre at Stanford Hall, Stanford on Soar, Nottinghamshire, to help the recovery of wounded members of the Armed Services. Funding is from more than £100m collected in banking fines.
On the Midlands Engine:
- Government’s commitment to publish a ‘Midlands Engine Strategy’ in early 2017, addressing how it will tackle the region’s barriers to productivity. It will follow publication of a similar ‘Northern Powerhouse Strategy’.
- The Chancellor confirmed arrangements for the £250m Midlands Engine Investment Fund. The British Business Bank is set to make its first investments from this – to support local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – in the first half of 2017.The Investment Fund will be co-funded by D2N2 and fellow Midlands’ LEPs.
- Details on the (previously announced) funding for the new National Productivity Investment Fund, aimed at a range of measures to raise UK economic productivity (and, as a consequence, living standards). This included funding nationally of:
- £7.2billion for housing, to support the construction of new homes, including spending by Housing Associations.
- £4.7billion to enhance the UK’s position as a world leader in science and innovation, through research and development investment.
- £2.6 billion to tackle congestion and ensure the UK’s transport networks are fit for the future.
- £700m to support the roll-out of fibre broadband and future 5G digital communications.
In addition, £392m was allocated by the Chancellor to D2N2 and its fellow Midlands LEPs; part of £1.8billion from the third round of Local Growth Fund (LGF) money, which was opened by Government to bids in early 2016. LGF money is used for investment in infrastructure (roads, skills and training facilities, new premises for key business sectors, etc) which directly create jobs and grow the economy.
At its July (2016) Annual Conference, the D2N2 LEP announced it would be submitting an ambitious 23 project bids from right across its area – developed with local authority partners – to Government, for LGF 3 money. It was estimated the total package, if funded in full, could create 12,910 new jobs and 1,705 new homes; but D2N2 and its fellow LEPs will have to wait to find out how many of those 23 projects will now receive Local Growth Fund money.
Following today’s Autumn Statement David Ralph, Chief Executive of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, (pictured above) said investment in areas such as UK research and development to help business would be particularly welcome. In May (2016) D2N2 and Nottingham, Nottingham Trent and Derby universities launched a £20.3m ‘Enabling innovation’ project – half-funded through the LEP’s EU funding allocation – to give hundreds of smaller businesses access to university specialist expertise, to help them solve technical problems and bring new products to market.
Action to accelerate house building would also help D2N2, in its target to enable developers to build 77,000 homes by 2023.
Mr Ralph added: “Today’s Autumn Statement clearly shows that where the region demonstrates a unity of purpose and vision, the Government is getting behind us.
“This was seen by the confirmation this month of the HS2 Phase 2b route’s ‘eastern leg’ as the Government’s preferred route, which includes a planned regional rail hub at Toton and an HS2 maintenance depot at Staveley; and for which partners in the area have already formed an initial economic Growth Strategy.
“We await with interest details on today’s announcement of £392m in Local Growth Fund investment for Midlands LEPs and how that will be distributed. The ambitious list of 23 projects D2N2 and its local authority partners submitted to Government this summer aimed to build further infrastructure for economic growth, to in turn help companies address issues such as productivity.”
For more information on today’s Autumn Statement see the Gov.UK website at www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/autumn-statement-2016
Further information on how the D2N2 LEP is spending its current allocation of £192million in Local Growth Fund monies, to aid its area’s economy, can be found on the D2N2 website at www.d2n2lep.org/Growth/Local-Growth-Fund
Media wanting further information about this news release can contact D2N2 LEP Communications Manager Sean Kirby on 0115 957 8749 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org