Enterprise cash anger

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a SHEFFIELD enterprise partnership has received the most government funding compared to any other such agency in the country - but the sum is still a third less than the amount requested.

Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership or LEP was given the cash from a government fund set up to cover the start-up costs of LEPs.

The partnership - which involves council and business chiefs and is chaired by former Master Cutler James Newman - has received £245,000 from a £5.5 million fund established to cover the start-up costs of all 32 LEPs around the country.

But Labour has queried why Sheffield City Region LEP only received 68 per cent of the sum it asked for, when 18 other LEPs received 100 per cent.

Mr Newman said: “I have been calling on Government for some time to make real their commitment to the LEPs and their potential, by providing practical support on the ground.

“We’re delighted the Government has responded to this, and that the Sheffield City Region LEP has been successful in its bid for much-needed funding.

“Although we have not been awarded everything that we applied for, this money will help the Partnership set up a team of up to six essential staff, and provide a budget for activities that will help us to engage local businesses in the work of the Sheffield City Region.”

Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts said: “I would like to know the reasons why Sheffield City Region LEP has been denied the full amount of funding it requested - and why it has not received start-up funding previously, given it had to start work months ago on projects such as the successful bid for an Enterprise Zone for the area to help economic growth.”

Sheffield Central Labour MP Paul Blomfield branded the £5.5 million funding pot pitiful and said: “Labour has repeatedly called for LEPs to be given the resources they need to drive forward growth in their regions.

“The Government now needs to repeat last year’s bankers’ bonus tax and use the money to boost the over-subscribed Regional Growth Fund by £200m.”

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said the amount granted depended on details of each bid.

A spokeswoman said: “The 32 local enterprise partnerships that bid for funding from the £5m start up fund asked for a total of £5.5m, so it was inevitable that where possible partnerships were asked to revise their proposals down to fall within the total budget of the fund.”