Friday, 13 May 2011

Local Enterprise Partnerships Possible funding sources

Most of the LEP conversations to date have focused on how LEPs will work in principle – (their legal status, constitutions, powers and accountability).  This blog aims to help with the next steps - where they can source resources if not from the traditional funding streams.

1) Capacity Fund

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) has made available a £4 million capacity fund over four years.  The first round has £1m allocated and was launched on the 17 February with a closing date of 31 March. A second bidding round will be launched in Autumn 2011 with further rounds in 2012 and 2013.

It seems to me that a ‘pick and mix’ approach offers the best chance as you could detail 5 to 10 different things you would like to use the capacity fund for and each item could be assessed individually.

2) Start up fund

BIS has made available £5 million in 2011-12 as a one-off start up fund.  The closing date for applications is midnight on the 30th June 2011

Application forms and more information can be found here: http://www.bis.gov.uk/policies/economic-development/leps/lep-start-up-fund

3) Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)

Councils will be able to raise a new levy to help fund economic growth and lay the foundations for future success of local areas.  This is a power that allows councils to raise funds from developers alongside new building projects to help build infrastructure, such as new schools, hospitals, roads and transport schemes as well as libraries parks and leisure centre's.

Here is a good link through the DCLG website http://tiny.cc/vuu2q and another from the PAS website: http://www.pas.gov.uk/pas/core/page.do?pageId=122677

4) Tax Increment Financing (TIF)

The best introduction is from the House of Commons library and is very recent having been published in March 2011

This may also be of use (more of a rough guide)

5) Enterprise Zones

There will be 21 enterprise zones in the UK.  11 have already been announced with 10 being bid for by LEPs who don’t yet have one.  With 34 LEPs announced and more to follow not all LEP areas will have an Enterprise Zone. 

In July the Government will access the proposals against criteria with the remaining 10 zones to be announced in the summer

EZ’s will be 50 to 100 hectares in size and Businesses will get up to a 100 per cent discount on rates, capped at £275,000 spread over five years, and could receive tax breaks on capital investments in areas where advanced manufacturing dominates.

Please see another of my posts for more info.

6) Regional Growth Fund

This is not exclusively for LEPs.  The RGF aims to create economic growth and Jobs. The second round of the RGF closes on 1st July.  Information can be found here: http://www.bis.gov.uk/policies/economic-development/regional-growth-fund

7) RDA assets? But looking increasingly unlikely as they seem to be going to the HCA.

8) Transport Funding see http://www.localgov.co.uk/index.cfm?id=98410&method=news.detail also the Local Sustainable Transport Fund which makes £560 million available over the 4 year period to 2014-15 further information available here including application form for the Department for Transport http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/regional/transportfund/

9) Rural Development funds

See Rural Development Programme for England A total of £3.7 billion is available for the 2007-13 programme period.  RDPE-funded grants for economic and social projects are currently administered by the RDAs but management of the funds will be moving to Defra on 1 July 2011. 

11) HCA?
12) Business rates?
13) Coalfield Communities – remaining funds from EU
14) National Affordable Housing Programme
15) New Homes Bonus
16) Reaching Communities and Heritage Lottery Fund
17) Business Growth Fund

This is a 2.5bn fund backed by 6 banks.   It aims to support businesses that have moved beyond start up.  Information here: http://www.businessgrowthfund.co.uk/ and here http://www.insidermedia.com/insider/south-west/52761-BGF-fund-provinces

18) Pooling resources and shared services
19) LA Economic Development Budgets
20) Private sector investment

21) JEREMIE Venture Capital Funds are available for Debt and equity financing for SMEs in certain parts of the north of England further information here: www.thenorthwestfund.co.uk and http://www.northeastfinance.org/

22) JESSICA Urban Development Funds are available to Firms in LEPs in the North West, East Midlands and London.  More information here www.eastmidlandsurbandevelopmentfund.co.uk and www.erdfnw.co.uk/projects/northwest-urban-investment-fund--jessica

25) Technology Strategy Board http://www.innovateuk.org/

Many thanks for all your comments.  Please also note that I am aware that all funding sources will note be available / appropriate to all LEPs.  What I do think is that the available funding streams might help LEPs with prioritisation of what they plan to do.

Please do add comments / suggestions / corrections!


  1. Think I've spotted a missing source - Technology Strategy Board. Important for innovation and High Growth within LEP areas

  2. I really hope that the LEP's are very different to the RDA's which damaged my and other SME business.

    I would really like to get into discussion regarding this. I believe that RDA's have done a lot of damage, more than good in many areas. However in meeting the local LEP organisers, I was pleased that they were "Business People" and knew what really matters.

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