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Tue 1st August
LEP delivers on its targets despite age of uncertainty
Its the annual reporting season at the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership, and time to reflect on their achievements this year. James Farrar, Chief Operating Officer at the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership, reflects.

This time last year, we had just delivered our Local Growth Fund first year target, and the country had voted in favour of Brexit. It left us wondering what the implications would be.
A year on and we are no clearer on Brexit and we’ve had a general election, but despite all this uncertainty, we have again delivered on our targets.

When we agreed our first Strategic Economic Plan in 2014, we set three ambitious targets. Since then, we have exceeded our target of creating 20,000 new jobs. We are on track to deliver £3bn in growth, and this year we achieved 94 per cent of our target to double house building, from 2,300 homes being built three years ago to over 5,000 being built this year.

One of the ways we achieve all this, is by attracting millions of pounds in investment into our region. From government, for example, we successfully bid for £145.9m in funding for York, North Yorkshire and East Riding in Local Growth Deal funding. This amount doesn’t account for the millions of extra private investment that this helps leverage, or the circa £85m in European Union funds, that we’ve secured here.

Our investments are about making a difference by unlocking business growth to drive our economy. This translates into many things. For example, investing in infrastructure like roads so that businesses can grow; helping businesses access the support they need, creating more, better quality jobs and a local workforce with the right skills .

One of our targets this year was to invest an ambitious £23.7m in Local Growth Deal funding, and we have exceeded that by investing £27m. We are ahead of schedule and great schemes such as Malton Agri-Food Park and North Northallerton are underway.

Elsewhere, we have supported 4,570 businesses mainly through our Growth Hub How’s Business, which has yet again exceeded target this year. In addition, 49 schools are now actively engaged in our Careers & Enterprise Programme, ensuring the link between education and employment is stronger than ever.

With £45m of new business support and skills programmes this year, people and businesses across York, North Yorkshire and East Riding are now able to access the help and support they need to grow, increase productivity and secure good quality jobs.

Making the investment is just the starting point however. The real satisfaction comes when developments are completed and this year has seen some key developments finish. Probably the highest profile has been Tadcaster Bridge. The whole of the country saw footage of the bridge collapsing in the December 2015 floods, splitting the town in two. We worked with local partners and government, not only to rebuild the bridge, but to widen it, making it easier to access the high street, supporting the great small businesses which trade there.

Out of adversity, the town has pulled together and bounced back stronger. In April, the town hosted the start of the Tour de Yorkshire, bringing much needed visitors and more publicity to the town.

On the same day as the bridge re-opening, we also celebrated the opening of the Askham Bryan Agri-Engineering Centre. These world class facilities are the training ground for the next generation of agricultural engineers, so important to our area’s rural economy. With our investment in Harrogate College also complete, we have been fortunate to see two fantastic new facilities opening, creating the opportunity for our students to get the skills our economy needs, in modern, state-of-the-art learning environments.

Elsewhere, on the Yorkshire Coast, houses at Middle Deepdale are being built, just at a time when work at York Potash, having secured its planning permission, has started. As the project moves from concept to reality, delivering new jobs and opportunities, it is important we are able to offer good quality houses for a high calibre workforce. Of course none of this would happen without our partners.

We are incredibly fortunate to enjoy a strong relationship with all our local authorities, whilst the area review of our further education colleges demonstrates high quality provision, increased partnership and collaboration. 2017 promises to be another great year. A new Industrial Strategy alongside Brexit will create new opportunities.

Unlocking Economic Growth

  • How’s Business Growth Hub: Launched £27m of help. 
  • Our work leading the bioeconomy: Launched a £10m Bioeconomy Growth Fund, the national Food Innovation Network and benefitted 130 large arable farmers from Sustainable Futures programme. 
  • Our Skilled and Inspired People: Launched £20m in European Structural Investment Funds to develop skills; invested £5m in new training facilities and equipment, now completed, and developed a network of 49 careers enterprise advisors. 
  • Our Successful and Distinctive Places: Launched £6.3m in Local Growth Funding; attracted £2.8m for Dalton and Tadcaster flood resilience, and attracted £24m in additional Local Growth Funding.

Read more at The Yorkshire Post Website

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