Each year, the economy in Leicester and Leicestershire goes from strength to strength. Since our previous Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) in 2013, the LLEP area has seen an increase in GVA from £19b to £22b. This is a fantastic sign for the local economy and indicates that we are right on target and will reach our GVA target of £23b by 2020!
We’ve also seen an increase of over 20,000 more jobs in our economy and unemployment across the LLEP area has reduced from over 22,000 to less than 9,000. Overall, the LLEP and its partners are working hard to ensure employment is down and the economy stays strong.
After the Brexit vote last year, I was happy to see two positive Government announcements in regards to European Structural Investment Funds (ESIF). In August 2016, it was announced that European funded projects with contracts signed before the Autumn Statement will be honoured in full. Also, in October 2016, it was announced that European funded projects with contracts signed before the UK leaves the EU will be honoured in full, even after we have left. This means the LLEP’s European Social Fund (ESF), European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) programmes will still run till 2020 and we can continue to support local providers and businesses with projects set to benefit the local area by supporting jobs and growth.
The majority of ESF funded support programmes in the LLEP area for skills provision are now available for employers and local people to access, including support programmes that can help employers to upskill their staff. In addition, there is funded help with business enterprise skills and leadership and management skills. To find out more, click here. I urge local businesses to access funded support to help them to maximise the skills of their workforce.
Furthermore, I’m delighted to say there are currently three active ERDF open calls which were launched on 16th December and will close on the 17th February. For further information about these calls, click here.
This year there are a lot of changes in the LLEP but things are looking positive for 2017. We have a new Management Team confirmed with Mike Durban as the new LLEP Head of Strategy and David Wright as the new LLEP Head of Programmes. This is an exciting year for us; we are expecting to receive some news from Government about our Growth Deal 3 and Enterprise Zone soon. In addition, we are refreshing our SEP which will set out our economic vision for the next few years and will be hosting some workshops so you can have your say too!
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