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CLEP welcomes support for place-based recovery programmes

CLEP welcomes support for place-based recovery programmes Creative Commons 2.0 (Copyright: Simon Walker HM Treasury)

Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP) has welcomed the recognition given by Chancellor Rishi Sunak to 'place-based' recovery initiatives as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Chief Executive Jo Lappin said the introduction of the new £4billion ‘levelling-up’ fund for England, alongside other place-based schemes, offered the opportunity to deliver the priorities in the “Restart, Reboot, Rethink – Plan for Cumbria’s Economic Recovery,” which has been delivered in partnership with Cumbria’s businesses, public and third sector partners.

Mr Sunak said the ‘levelling-up fund’ would support towns and communities with regeneration projects. Local areas will be able to apply for up to £20m each from the fund to spend on projects that command local support, including from an MP. This could include funding for a new bypass, upgraded railway station, roadworks to cut traffic, more libraries, museums and galleries, or town centre improvements.

Mrs Lappin said: “The detail has still to be made clear and is likely to take a little time to emerge as outlined in the CSR document.

“However, at headline level, funding schemes that help places to deliver on their locally-developed initiatives are to be very much welcomed and we look forward to working with all of our partners to explore how Cumbria can benefit from the CSR funding announcements.”

Cumbria’s Restart, Reboot, Rethink strategy, to enable the county to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, will continue to develop whilst COVID-19 restrictions are in place, but focuses on three themes, which will operate in parallel:

  • Restart – getting the economy moving and leaving behind the emergency response phase.
  • Reboot – defining a new path towards delivering priorities in the Local Industrial Strategy (LIS), recognising that the economic landscape has changed significantly since the initial LIS development phase.
  • Rethink – identifying what is different as a result of the pandemic and looking to deliver new opportunities where Cumbria has a real advantage and where the direction of policy and investment support these.

Mrs Lappin added: “We appreciate that the Chancellor has had some very difficult choices to make in what is the most challenging of economic circumstances.

“For our part, CLEP is fully committed to ensuring that we do everything in our power to make sure that Cumbria’s economy and businesses benefit from all available support. We will continue to maintain our focus on preserving businesses and jobs.

“We look forward to working with the Government on helping to bring a business perspective to prioritising investments from the levelling-up fund and the future UK Shared Prosperity Fund”.

Mrs Lappin also welcomed a further £100m allocation for British Business Bank’s Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) as part of the Spending Review, bringing the total for investment to more than £500m.

NPIF was launched in February 2017 and recently passed its £200m milestone, having directly invested £200m into more than 700 Northern-based SMEs in deals that have attracted an additional £232m of investment from the private sector.

NPIF funding has enabled these businesses to scale up through new product launches, expand into new global markets and further invest in staff and infrastructure.

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