The Government is inviting Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to bid for a share of a further £1.8bn Local Growth funding.
Launching the new bidding round, Communities secretary Greg Clark highlighted the potential for Growth Deals to boost the chances of areas securing investment from overseas.
Communities Secretary Greg Clark: Whitehall does not know best
Mr Clark emphasised the Government’s intention to let local areas decide what to bid for.
He said: ‘We’re completely changing the way business is done in this country, ending the top-down, “Whitehall knows best” mentality of the past and instead putting power back where it belongs – in the hands of local communities.
‘With this offer of a Growth Deal to communities across the country, we’re backing this devolution revolution with billions of pounds, releasing vital investment in projects across the country to boost local skills, deliver new homes and create jobs.’
The Department for Communities and Local Government said bidding would be highly competitive and that ‘to be successful, Local Enterprise Partnerships will need to work with partners to agree strong and accountable governance, putting forward proposals that boost growth and bring in private sector funding'.
It said that LEPs bidding for the new funds have ‘until the summer to do so’. A spokesperson told Transport Network that the department would be specifying a date ‘in due course’.
The new tranche of funding was announced in last week’s budget by chancellor George Osborne, who also confirmed £475m for large local transport projects from the Local Majors Fund.
In theory, the Local Growth Fund includes £500m capital funding for sustainable transport schemes under an access fund that replaced the Local Sustainable Transport Fund. However, transport minister Andrew Jones confirmed this month that the money was not ring-fenced to transport schemes.