Norfolk and Suffolk Get £50 Million Extra In Growth Deal

29 January 2015, 06:33 | Updated: 29 January 2015, 06:34

Aviation, engineering & innovation at the heart of new funding.

Norfolk and Suffolk have once again secured sizeable Government funding to boost the region's skills, improve transport and infrastructure, drive innovation and target support to help small businesses grow.

 The Government has awarded New Anglia LEP a further £48.5m to be spent in the region to 2021. It comes just six months after the LEP's first Growth Deal was announced which secured £173m of investment in the area over the same period.

The new round of funding will deliver up to 2000 new jobs and 750 homes to the area by 2021. Overall it has the potential to unlock a further £120m in public and private sector investment.

 At the heart of the additional Growth Deal is a new Engineering and Innovation Technology Centre for West Suffolk College, funding to develop the Aviation Academy at Norwich International Airport and a new Innovation Centre for Ipswich. It also brings more money for better transport links in Norwich, funding for the Enterprise Zone in Lowestoft and more support for SMEs who are ambitious to invest and create more jobs.

 The Innovation Centre in King's Lynn also receives additional support, there's funding for future skills projects across both counties and capital investment for major infrastructure projects. The deal also confirms the Government's commitment to work with partners on the regeneration of RAF Mildenhall.

 In addition the LEP will support the development of flood defences in Lowestoft and will commit its resources, including from the Local Growth Fund and Growing Places Fund allocations. It will also support the preparatory work for options for the proposed Ipswich Wet Dock crossing.

 Mark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia LEP, said "With today's award, this brings over £220m of government funding to Norfolk and Suffolk in recent months. It's a great vote of confidence in our economic potential and a terrific boost to our ambitions as we work to create an Eastern Economic Powerhouse. Essential to success is improved skills, world class innovation, improved transport and infrastructure and targeted help for small businesses to grow. We have taken another very big step forward today and it's the culmination of exceptional collaboration between the LEP, its partners from local authorities, education and business and our MPs."

 "We now have a proven track record for securing Government investment and for delivering on our promises. Today's announcement builds on that success; delivering key new centres for engineering and skills, new jobs and apprenticeships, improved transport links and much needed support for the region's SMEs to help them grow and secure their long-term future."

 In December the Chancellor announced an additional £1bn of funding for Local Enterprise Partnerships. All LEPs were invited to submit business plans to secure a share of that funding.

George Nobbs, Leader of Norfolk County Council and member of the New Anglia LEP board, said: "I am especially delighted that the Aviation Academy has got the go ahead as it will offer our young people a clear route into what is a highly skilled sector. These are exactly the sorts of jobs I am keen to see more of in Norfolk and I am 100% behind this innovative initiative.

 "An extra £4m plus to improve the public transport and the road network in and around Norwich, money towards the King's Lynn innovation centre and money to grow small businesses across the county all add up to a welcome boost for the Norfolk economy."

 Councillor Mark Bee, Suffolk County Council's leader and member of the New Anglia LEP board, said: "I am absolutely thrilled that such a generous level of additional funding has been announced for Suffolk; allowing us to further invest in projects that are vital to the prosperity of our region.

 "This announcement demonstrates the level of confidence that central government has in the New Anglia LEP and its previous successes, as well as the ability of its partner organisations to deliver outstanding results for the local economy.

 "Through this significant extra support, we can continue to develop and implement these much-needed projects and build on the partnership aims; continuing to bring economic benefit to communities and businesses across Suffolk."

 As part of delivering its longer-term growth targets, the LEP is also announcing the launch of a new Finance Taskforce today, which will see a number of top financiers, business leaders, and senior experts from education and the public sector  come together to explore and identify innovative ways of funding many other growth projects across Norfolk and Suffolk.

Announcing the launch of the Finance Taskforce, Mark Pendlington said: "We have  many projects coming forward, each with the potential to boost growth, create more jobs and help us meet our economic targets. Government can't be expected to fund them all, so in a first for this region, we are bringing together some of the top brains and innovative thinkers to explore and identify how we can attract even more investment to Norfolk and Suffolk. There is a wealth of bright ideas and talent out there and creating an Eastern Economic Powerhouse depends on us harnessing our great spirit of innovation and collaboration to find dynamic ways to secure funding for our future growth."