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GBSLEP asks Government for £561m to kickstart Greater Birmingham economy

GBSLEP asks Government for £561m to kickstart Greater Birmingham economy

🕔06.Mar 2014

Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP has set out its plans for jobs and growth by asking the Government for £561 million from the Local Growth Fund over the next five years.

A draft Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) details 94 regeneration projects, chiefly based in the M42/Birmingham Airport UK Central corridor and in Birmingham city centre around the planned HS2 high speed rail station at Digbeth.

The bid for funding, if it is successful, would swallow up half of the £1 billion available nationally from the Local Growth Fund and would answer critics of local enterprise partnerships by giving GBSLEP funding comparable to that enjoyed by the former regional development agency Advantage West Midlands.

GBSLEP is calling its bid “the SEP to change Britain” and claims the proposals could lever in as much as £10 billion of public and private spending by 2021.

It has also emerged that GBSLEP is to enter a “cost-cutting” bid to host an HS2 college to train the engineers of tomorrow. Rather than identifying a specific site, LEP leaders say they can save the Government money by using nine existing colleges across the region.

The proposal appears to put an end to the possibility of the HS2 college being built on the former LDV site at Washwood Heath, Birmingham, next to a planned high speed rail maintenance depot.

GBSLEP is in a bidding process for a share of LGF money and will submit its proposals to be judged by the Government against plans by other LEPs.

HS2 lies at the core of GBSLEP’s plans and has been described as a “game changer” for Birmingham.

Economic growth is envisaged in Digbeth and at the high speed rail interchange station close to Birmingham Airport and the NEC.

Plans for Birmingham Curzon, a 350 acre regeneration scheme around the Digbeth station, were announced earlier this month. The scheme is expected to create 14,000 jobs.

Birmingham Interchange station will create a 143-hectare site which could create 100,000 new jobs by 2040 and contribute to a £14 billion uplift in GVA, according to GBSLEP.

Proposals set out in the draft SEP include:

  • An Advanced Manufacturing and Recruitment Agency pilot to support 600 traineeships and create 720 new jobs over three years.
  • A Greater Birmingham Growth Hub to provide a business support and to encourage 500 advanced manufacturing businesses to double their growth over four years.

GBSEP says the SEP will create 37,500 jobs over 10 years, if the SEP plans are fully funded.

Steve Hollis, GBSLEP Deputy Chair, said: “It is no secret that resource is tight and the competition for the £1 billion available from the Local Growth Fund will be fierce.

“This is why we are placing so much emphasis on our record of delivery, the strategic foundations we have and the strong consensus that has emerged through the wide-ranging consultation during the development of our Strategy for Growth.

“Our ambitious aim is to provide a step change in the export and inward investment performance of a region that is already receiving recognition for its efforts and we believe our offer to Government will be compelling.

“A great deal of work has gone into refining our case to Government and now we are seeking feedback on the broad approach we are taking.”

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