£400m fund to create jobs and get economy moving

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A new £400m fund which aims to create jobs and boost the economy will be launched within weeks.

An initial £20m is expected to be put into the pot by the seven Leeds City Region (LCR) councils, which include Wakefield.

The fund will support schemes which might have secured loans in the past but now struggle to get support, mostly in the housing and construction sector.

Private sector partners are expected to invest £3 for every £1 put in by councils, and the aim is to generate a £400m fund that will be invested in key parts of the region’s economy over the next 10 years.

Wakefield Council leader and chairman of the LCR leaders board Peter Box said: “We’re bringing forward this initial tranche of our planned investment fund to help kick-start development that is being held back due to a lack of commercial financing.

“As well as addressing a key market failure, the revolving investment fund will bring more much-needed investment into the city region alongside our business funding programmes, financing for apprenticeships, skills and broadband, and the significant transport funding secured through our city deal.”

Rather than offering grants or subsidies, the investment fund will provide loans with returns going back into the fund so it grows over time and can support more projects.

Projects will have to show that they can create jobs, add to the regional economy or help to achieve broader goals such as supporting the growth of low-carbon industries.

The LCR deal signed with the government last summer also includes the creation of a £1bn transport fund, part-funded by the government.