Combined authority plans £1m grant for mystery finance company

A mystery financial services company could be on its way to Leeds.
A mystery financial services company could be on its way to Leeds.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority chiefs want to spend money enticing a mystery financial services company to the city.

Work to help bring the company to the Leeds City Region, dubbed “Project Lapwing” is expected to cost the authority £1m, and will be discussed at an investment committee meeting next Tuesday.

It is hoped that, if successful, the company can “safeguard” 450 jobs, create another 400 jobs and help boost investment in the region by up to £25m by 2028.

A report set to go before WYCA’s investment committee claims that the project is of a commercially sensitive nature and has agreed to keep the identity of the company anonymous. It adds WYCA should spend the money to “absorb additional costs” associated with moving to the region.

The applicant is referred to as an “international financial services firm with an international presence”.

The report adds the company has worked with the UK Department for International Trade to look at potential locations for the project, which has led to Leeds City Region being selected as a the preferred location.

However, WYCA believes there could be a risk that the company stays where it is or looks elsewhere, such are the costs associated with relocating to West Yorkshire.

The report states: “The project has a clear strategic fit and there is clear evidence of the need for the project. The project has good potential of delivering against headline indicators and falls within an identified funding stream.

“If Leeds City Region is selected as the location for this project, there will be 400 net new roles created at a regional level, through transition from the south. The grant funding will enable the company to absorb the additional costs associated with the Leeds City Region option, relative to the neutral cost option of consolidating roles within an existing southern site.

“This is a very large business with significant financial resources, therefore it is possible that this project could be affordable without grant support. The additionality argument in this case, however, is about bringing forward a project that would otherwise not happen in Leeds City Region due to the cost and risk profile relative to other locations.”

A decision on whether to grant the £1m would only be made in principle, with more detailed plans expected to come forward in the coming months.