Almost 3,000 jobs created as Leeds City Region LEP awards £21m in grants

ALMOST 3,000 new jobs are expected to be created in Yorkshire, predominantly in manufacturing, following the allocation of more than £21m to over 300 companies in the Leeds City Region.

The Local Enterprise Partnership’s Business Growth Programme has committed £21.2m out of £25.7m to 305 small-and-medium-sized firms in West Yorkshire, York, Harrogate, Craven, Selby and Barnsley looking to invest in property and equipment and create new jobs.

The LEP estimates that 2,985 jobs are in the process of being created as a result of the programme, which was launched in February 2012.

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Most of these will be in manufacturing after 78 per cent of grants allocated went to companies in this sector.

The programme is supported by the government’s Regional Growth Fund.

To qualify, firms need to demonstrate they will create jobs, have private financial backing and will support key growth sectors.

Companies can bid for grants between £10,000 and £500,000 depending on how many new jobs their investment will create.

In addition, loans are available over £500,000.

Jet2, Harrison Spinks and Mamas and Papas are some of the businesses that have received money through the programme.

Henry Rigg, programme manager for the Leeds City Region LEP, said: “The funding is there to accelerate business investment that might have been put on the back burner.

“We only give 10 or 20 per cent contribution to an investment project because we want to see a business case for where the rest of the money will come from.

“We support businesses that are already growing and wanting to invest. We don’t give money to firms that are in trouble to bail them out.

“We have to do a lot of due diligence to make sure a business is secure and solvent.”

He added: “Most investment schemes have tended to favour the manufacturing sector because that is where capital investment is most needed.

“Manufacturing is a large sector in the Leeds City Region with 140,000 employees, exporting products and innovating so this money will have a positive impact on the industry.”

The Business Growth Programme has been extended for another three years from April 2015 with a further £18m secured through the Government’s Local Growth Fund.

Mr Rigg said: “The programme has been consistently popular and as the scheme becomes more well-known we are getting more and more enquiries about it.”

Union Insurance, which offers insurance protection to trade union members, was able to launch its first operation outside London at Wakefield 41 Business Park with a £100,000 grant from the programme, creating more than 20 new jobs.

Meanwhile Harrogate Water Brands, the independent owner of Harrogate Spring Water and water charity Thirsty Planet, has opened a new £6m bottling line to meet the increasing demand from overseas, supported by a £430,000 grant.

The £430,000 grant has immediately helped to create six jobs, with the figure projected to rise to 28 new positions in production, sales, marketing and accounts, which will almost double the workforce.

A £32,730 grant has helped Bradford crisp maker Seabrook invest in new machinery and create four new jobs.