Phil Bennion has welcomed news that Local Enterprise Partnerships in the West Midlands region are line to receive €912 million in European Regional funding for 2014 until 2020. 

WS PB MH Greater Birm Project IMG 9114

The largest allocation of EUR 255.8 million (approximately £210 million) will go to the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP, which includes a number of other local authority areas in Staffordshire and Worcestershire.

The news was announced by Business Secretary Vince Cable yesterday in a written statement detailing how the EUR 6.2 billion England allocation of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF) will be allocated.

LEPs will also be able to bid for a share of a Single Local Growth Fund worth £2 billion a year, with money decentralised from Whitehall.

Phil Bennion said: "This is a good result for jobs and growth in the region, especially as the government has honoured the commitment to decentralise the decisionmaking of 95% of EU Growth Programme Funds to LEPs on the ground. Previously, central government held onto about half the cash.

"Councils and business leaders are the best people to make decisions to spend this money effectively to boost jobs and growth locally, not civil servants in London.

"I think our region has done quite well in this settlement. We stand to get about a seventh of the total allocation for England, which is considerably more than a population-based settlement would offer. The total amount of regional funding in England has dropped by about 5% to reflect the reduction in the total EU budget, but is still significant.

"The challenge now is for the LEPs to use the money well and ensure that they add value to make the difference to growth schemes to create jobs.

"ERDF funds used imaginatively can make a real difference to stimulate business expansion. It is excellent news that this can continue, with more funding decisions being made locally.

"The decentralisation to LEPs also includes Single Local Growth Fund, which will start with £2 billion each year.

"I was hoping the devolution of single pot regeneration funding to LEPs would be more dramatic, as Michael Heseltine and I argued through the Greater Birmingham Project, nevertheless I welcome the direction of travel."

Phil Bennion spoke out before heading to a meeting with representatives of Centro officials to inspect the Curzon Street site of the proposed HS2 station in Birmingham and discuss ways of improving connections for passengers from conventional rail services at New Street.


European Regional funding allocations to LEPs in the West Midlands Region

Allocation €m[1]
Black Country
Coventry and Warwickshire
Greater Birmingham and Solihull
Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire
The Marches
   Total West Mids region:                                                      Eur 912.6 m
   Total for England:                                                               Eur 6.2 billion
[1] Figures are nominal and so not adjusted for inflation