Why a mystery finance company could be one step closer to Leeds

Will Leeds be the new home to a multinational finance company?
Will Leeds be the new home to a multinational finance company?

Plans to entice a mystery finance company to Leeds could take a major step forward this week.

Work to help bring an unnamed company to the Leeds City Region, dubbed “Project Lapwing”, is expected to cost the authority £1m, and was discussed in private at an investment committee meeting last month.

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.

And council leaders from around the region will decide whether to grant permission for a full business case for the project this week.

A report, set to go before a full West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) meeting on Thursday, claimed the company was an “international financial services firm with an international presence”.

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

However, this was seen as a more expensive option for the company, and that additional costs for the business should be “absorbed” by the authority, to prevent it either staying where it was or relocating to another northern city.

It is claimed the project is of a commercially sensitive nature and WYCA has agreed to keep the identity of the company anonymous.

The report claims that the company will make a decision on whether to proceed with the project “imminently”, and if it accepts the plans, could move to the new premises by the end of 2019.

It 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 some of the 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 otherwise may not happen in Leeds City Region due to the balance of the cost versus risk profile relative to other locations.”