Ministers award extra £270m to LEPs
By Richard Johnstone | 29 March 2012
Funding for infrastructure projects announced in last week’s Budget has been allocated to Local Enterprise Partnerships across England.
Chancellor George Osborne told MPs on March 21 that the government would add £270m to the £500m Growing Places fund
, which provides cash to improve local infrastructure.
Today Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles and Transport Secretary Justine Greening gave details of how the extra money has been allocated to London and the 38 LEPs.
The largest single grant is almost £16m to the Southeast LEP. Around £12m has been provided for Greater Manchester, £11m for Leeds City Region and almost £7m for the Heart of the South West. The total allocation across London is £69.3m.
Pickles said that the extra cash, available immediately, would help LEPs unlock sites for new homes.
The funding comes from underspends across Whitehall departments. Greening, whose department provided the majority of the new fund (£150m), added that feedback from the first round of projects confirmed that most were focused on transport.
‘Transport infrastructure projects are often the key to unlocking jobs and growth potential, where new link roads or junction improvements can be a catalyst for investment in new regeneration sites of homes and businesses that otherwise might not happen.’
The ministers also said that £150m would be available for ‘Tif 2’, one of the government’s two proposed Tax Increment Financing schemes that come into effect next April when business rates are localised. Tif will allow local authorities to borrow to fund infrastructure projects against business rate increases generated by the new developments.
No central government borrowing limit is proposed under Tif 1 but any increase in rates revenue will be net of the levies, top-up and tariffs system that will be in place.
Borrowing under Tif 2 will be capped at £150m but councils will retain all business rate growth. This will be repaid over 25 years.