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£125,000 boost for jobs creation group
BOSSES have welcomed a £125,000 grant to a group working to create jobs across Southampton and Hampshire.
The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has so far been denied “core funding” to manage its operation, and ministers had been under pressure to ensure the bodies were properly funded.
The committee – a combination of local business chiefs and political leaders – was set up to replace the previous model of the South East Regional Development Agency.
The Solent LEP is in charge of bidding for Government cash to spend on local job creation projects, including the new Enterprise Zone at the former HMS Daedalus site.
Doug Morrison, Southampton Port boss and the LEP chairman, said: “In the Solent, we have achieved a great deal in our first year, without any core funding from Government, and I expect the funding announced today to only increase our capacity to deliver local growth during the next two years.”
Fareham council leader Shaun Woodward, a director on the LEP board, added: “It is very helpful, because we are in the process of setting up executive support for the LEP.”
Earlier this month a group of MPs called for LEPs to be better funded, arguing that £250,000 was needed every year for them to be properly managed.
Yesterday, Business Minister Michael Fallon said £125,000 would be available this year, followed by up to £250,000 a year if the LEP can provide matched funding.
He said: “It is crucial we arm Local Enterprise Partnerships with the tools and resources they need to play a prominent role in delivering growth and jobs for their communities.
“This funding will help LEPs plan for the long term and ensure they can remain locally-led instead of dependent on central government support.”