The Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is to launch a new initiative to encourage businesses to increase productivity and tackle the gap between the Leeds City Region and the national average.
The LEP, working in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, will support firms in Leeds City Region to improve their productivity through capital grant investment. Research by the Combined Authority highlights that if businesses can close the gap between the region’s productivity rate and the national average, £10bn could be added to the regional economy.
This new business productivity pilot will award capital grants to those companies that best demonstrate how the investments will lead to improvements. Although job creation will not be required, businesses will need to maintain headcount and show wider activities that will complement the grant investment to improve productivity.
The pilot runs from 17 September to 14 December 2018 as an open competition where businesses are invited to bid for a share of the £500,000 available. Companies can apply for grants of between £25,000 and £100,000.
Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, chair of the Combined Authority and Leader of Bradford Council said: “Boosting productivity is a top priority for the Combined Authority and LEP to develop a strong, socially inclusive economy that works for everyone in the region.
“Productivity gains in Leeds City Region and the North of England will benefit local people through increased living standards and better jobs. Strengthening the region’s economy will in turn create a significant lift to the national economy, improving competiveness and driving growth.
“The pilot will help the LEP and wider City Region to capture practical learning, better meet the needs of businesses and be at the forefront of developing evidence-led interventions on productivity that can be used to inform national policy decisions.”
Roger Marsh, OBE, chair of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership said: “Bold long lasting steps are needed to address the UK’s productivity levels, including putting in place a long-term approach to help SME owners invest in training, research and development and innovation. This pilot will allow the LEP to test the best approaches to drive productivity – led by and for the private sector.
“These capital grants - to invest in new machinery, equipment and fit-out - further strengthen the LEPs support offer to businesses. I encourage all firms across the region to pick up the phone and find out more.”
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