Business urges government to back SEMLEP’s £10 billion growth plan

Apr 01, 2014

THE Strategic Economic Plan details how SEMLEP aims to grow the economy by £10.2 billion, create an additional 94,700 jobs and build an extra 70,600 homes across its patch in Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Milton Keynes, Cherwell District and Aylesbury Vale District by 2020.

MPs, university vice chancellors, further education college principals and businesses including Silverstone, Santander, Lockheed Martin and General Motors UK have added their signatures of support to SEMLEP’s plan, urging government to embrace the economic contribution the South East Midlands can make to the UK’s overall prosperity.

SEMLEP chair Dr Ann Limb (pictured) said: “This is an ambitious five-year plan to deliver economic growth in the period up to 2020.

"We have identified the essential infrastructure that we require to deliver sustainable and balanced growth and have set out our intention to build new homes, grow jobs and ensure we have the skilled workforce needed to fill these positions.”

As part of its Strategic Economic Plan SEMLEP has prioritised over 20 transport and infrastructure projects, including:

  • Dual carriageway for the section of the A421 linking Milton Keynes with Junction 13 of the M1.
  • Dunstable’s Woodside Link.
  • The Bedford Western Bypass.
  • London Luton Airport Highway Access.

The prioritised project list is a result of extensive consultation with local businesses, local authorities, the voluntary and community sector and overlapping LEPs.

The £2 billion growth fund is available to all 39 LEPs, which will effectively compete with each other for the funding, which will be available from April 2015.

Government is expected to make the funding decisions by July 2014, at which time SEMLEP’s Growth Fund Task Group, which will include representatives of overlapping LEPs, will manage and monitor delivery of the programme.

Alongside funding from the Local Growth Fund, SEMLEP has also submitted to government its strategy for how to use £75 million of European Funds. Further details will be available on how to access these funds later in the year. 

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