LEPs’ combined Regional Growth Fund bid

Merseyside's local enterprise partnership has joined with counterparts in the Midlands to bid for a £25m Regional Growth Fund grant to develop the advanced engineering supply chain.

If approved, the funding will be passed on to automotive and aerospace suppliers in the form of 'repayable grants'. The Mersey Partnership, which helped the Liverpool City Region LEP with the bid, said the grants would be equivalent to between 10% and 20% of the funding required by suppliers to prepare for orders. TMP went on: "This reduces the level of risk for other lenders, making it more likely that the supplier will be able to access any remaining funding required, boosting levels of inward investment into the sector. Repayments of these grants by individual recipients will allow further allocations to be made to other firms along supply chains to increase their liquidity."

The bid to the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, was prepared with the backing of LEPs for the Black Country; Coventry & Warwickshire and Greater Birmingham & Solihull; as well as Liverpool city region. Confirmation of the RGF bid comes in the same week that Jaguar Land Rover unveiled plans to create 1,000 jobs through expansion of its plant in Solihull in the West Midlands.

Lorraine Rogers, chief executive of TMP, said: "The bid represented the first joint submission from a group of LEPs working together. It identified an immediate need for businesses in advanced manufacturing supply chains to receive finance, which will enable them to win more orders and create jobs. With global companies Jaguar Land Rover and Vauxhall in the area, the automotive sector is a significant part of Liverpool city region's economy and has the potential to support further growth in areas of the advanced engineering supply chain and other key sectors such as low carbon.

"This funding could help attract investment and have a direct impact on local employers in the supply chain of the automotive sector. The next steps are to complete due diligence for the grant and for the partners to agree the governance structure and criteria for the fund. The fund could provide an important source of finance for manufacturing companies in the city region."

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