The Chair of the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has paid tribute to the “strong and deepening partnership between businesses, local authorities and education” around the Humber Estuary, describing it as a “competitive strength for our region” as the organisation publishes its annual report.
Lord Haskins said there is a “renewed level of confidence and optimism in the Humber”, with new figures showing the impact investment through the LEP has had to date. As the Government develops a new Industrial Strategy, he called on Humber businesses to step up to ensure the Humber plays a central part.
Delegates at the LEP’s AGM this morning will hear how business and council leaders have come together to drive the growth of the Humber Energy Estuary, with a programme of key projects being delivered to unlock development, raise skills levels and back business expansions.
Speakers will also tell how the LEP has worked with statutory agencies to resolve complex barriers to major developments, helped thousands of local businesses to access support through its Growth Hub, and promoted a new “Gold Standard” for careers advice which has now been achieved by 18 local schools, colleges and training providers – with a further 50 working towards.
Government has continued to back the partnership’s vision for a thriving Estuary economy, with Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry saying the progress made was “the Northern Powerhouse in action”.
Read more: Annual Review documents
The LEP will announce that 2,895 jobs have now been created as a direct result of its investment programme over the last four years, with a further 1,300 jobs to follow.
Figures published today will show that £105m has now been invested on the ground through the LEP in projects delivered by local authorities, businesses and other partners – leveraging a further £249m to date (£354m total). The LEP has already secured an additional £86m to invest by 2020/21 as a result of competitive bidding to Government, which will support further job creation.
Projects completed during 2016/17 include road improvements on Anlaby Road in Hull and at Barnetby Top in North Lincolnshire, flood defences at Paull in the East Riding and regeneration work in Grimsby town centre. Many more projects are now under way, including Hull Venue, the ERGO business centre at the Humber Bridgehead, the expansion of CATCH in Stallingborough and an enterprise hub in Scunthorpe. The top-performing Growing the Humber programme has invested in 334 businesses to date and was relaunched earlier this year with an £8m expansion.
Up to £88m (£146m with match funding) will also be invested through the Humber’s European structural funds programme, with figures published today showing that 50% of this is now contracted and 30% in progress – understood to be amongst the best performance in England. Projects include support for business finance, innovation and growth, flood defence and environmental improvements, support to raise skills levels and support to help people into work.
Read more: Investment Programme update
Lord Haskins, Chair of the Humber LEP, said: “The public and private sectors around the Humber came together to drive the growth of our economy, and that decision is increasingly paying off. There is a renewed level of confidence and optimism in the Humber, and that is something that we must continue to build on.
“The achievements of the last few years could not have happened without the strong and deepening partnership between businesses, local authorities and education providers, and the commitment of a great number of individuals who have stepped up to drive the change. That is an important competitive strength for our region which will be ever more important as we respond to the uncertainties and opportunities ahead.”
Jake Berry MP, Northern Powerhouse Minister, said: “This has been a landmark year for the Humber with the opening of the Siemens offshore wind blade factory, launch of Hull City of Culture, and major investments in green energy on the South Bank.
“This is the Northern Powerhouse in action and we have continued to back the LEP’s growth plans, providing more than £140 million to help create jobs and support businesses across the Humber.”
Councillor Stephen Brady, Leader of Hull City Council, said: “Hull City Council is working hard with partners to transform Hull into a world class visitor destination and a place of community and opportunity; a place to live, study and invest.
“The Humber LEP has been instrumental in ensuring significant projects have gone ahead in Hull, including Hull Venue, River Hull and Albert Dock flood defences, delivering housing growth and the works to the Old Town and Trinity Market.
“The strong partnerships within the Humber region and proven track record in delivery of projects have been key to achieving investment, and reaping the benefits of a growing economy and creating jobs.
“We will continue to work together to grow our local economy for the benefit of all our residents.”
Councillor Stephen Parnaby OBE, Leader of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “Throughout the wider uncertainties and upheavals of the past year, partners in the Humber region have and continue to work together for the benefit of our residents, businesses and local communities.
“Over the past 12 months, unprecedented levels of investment have been secured for the area, new initiatives have been launched and numerous new developments have started or are about to get underway.
“By showing resolve and focus, the Humber LEP and its partners are delivering on a number of projects that are transforming our economy and making the Humber a competitive location in which to do business.”
Councillor Rob Waltham MBE, Leader of North Lincolnshire Council, said: “Politics has been put to one side to enable the Humber sub region to prosper and thrive. The Humber LEP gives us strength in numbers and enables businesses to work together to reap the benefits and speed up vital decisions needed to help our economy grow.
“North Lincolnshire is playing a key role in this, with millions of pounds being invested to create new businesses, expand existing ones and lots of investment to improve roads and better access for businesses. All this helps create job and training opportunities and increases the skills levels in the Humber sub region.”
Councillor Ray Oxby, Leader of North East Lincolnshire Council, said: “In North East Lincolnshire, we have benefitted with support for key initiatives including opening up the Stallingborough Enterprise Zone site, public realm works in Grimsby town centre and expansion of the CATCH training centre.
“It’s important to keep working together to make sure the region as a whole benefits from joint working, securing the best deal we can for our residents and businesses.”