Major investors looking to start up in region, says LEP

TWO major inward investors are considering establishing operations in Yorkshire, according to Roger Marsh, the chairman of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Roger Marsh. Picture James Hardisty JH1001/40g

Mr Marsh disclosed the potential interest as a report revealed that the LEP and its partners have helped to create 3,200 jobs over the last four years.

The LEP Impact report also said that work carried out by the LEP and its partners over the past four years has added an extra £1.4bn to the city region’s annual economic output.

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The LEP is a private and public sector partnership which is working to stimulate business growth across 11 local authorities – Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield, York and North Yorkshire County Council.

According to the report, 4,300 businesses have benefitted from LEP finance and support, and this combined activity has unlocked around £491m of private sector investment.

Mr Marsh said the LEP’s achievements so far provided a firm foundation to build a prosperous future, but he stressed this is “not a job done, but job well begun”.

He told The Yorkshire Post: “I’ve been talking to two major inward investors this week, and they talk about the fact we have the sites ready.

“They’re talking about looking at Leeds and the wider city region and not considering, what they call, ‘the usual suspects’, which I guess must be Manchester and other places.”

The impact report, which analysed the LEP’s economic contribution over the last four years, concluded that for every £1 of taxpayers’ money secured by the LEP, some £10 in economic output has been generated in line with the LEP’s strategic economic plan.

The report added: “All of this was achieved with comparatively modest levels of Government investment, before the LEP received the funding secured through the £1bn Growth Deal it agreed with Government in July 2014.

“As a result of this Growth Deal investment, the LEP and its partners are expected to create an additional 20,600 jobs and add an extra £2.1bn a year to the City Region economy by 2031, above and beyond current projected growth.”

However, the business and political leaders who gathered at the Northern Monk Brewery in Leeds to study the report also raised concerns about skills shortages, and the apparent failure of some schools to “sell” apprenticeships to their pupils.

Mr Marsh said the LEP and its partners had to keep pushing the message about the value of apprenticeships.

Mr Marsh acknowledged that skills shortages were a “limiter on growth”.

He added: “We need to be persistent but patient in equal measure. We won’t fix these problems in 10 minutes. In 10 years, we should be well on the journey.”