The number of jobs and training opportunities created through projects funded through the Local Growth Fund has far outstripped forecasts, according to Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram.
Over the last financial year, through Local Growth Fund projects alone, the Combined Authority has created 2,045 new jobs, including 526 new apprenticeships, against a target of 1,519. Around 4,100 people have also started new skills courses, against a target of 2,889.
Mayor Rotheram announced in 2021 that the £313m Local Growth Fund had committed to nearly 200 projects, that will eventually create more than 18,000 new jobs and £225m of additional investment.
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said, “The beauty of devolution is the significant tangible impact that local decision making has on communities across our region. Rather than civil servants in Whitehall or politicians in Westminster deciding how money is spent here, local people, who understand our needs and ambitions, are in control.
“I want to make sure that every pound we spend is going towards creating a better, fairer future for the 1.6 million people who call it their home.
“The difference we’ve made through the Local Growth Fund is testament to that. I’ve set an ambitious target to create 18,000 new jobs and generate an additional £225m worth of investment in our economy by 2025 – because for too long, too many in our region have been held back, not because of a lack of ambition, but a lack of opportunity. Investments like this offer a promise of hope to people – that there is a brighter future ahead.”
Local Growth Fund projects will run until 2024/25 and have already delivered 9,811 jobs and over £187m of private sector investment, in addition to £108m of further public sector investment.
Projects backed by the Combined Authority include the redevelopment of Kirkby Town Centre, Liverpool’s City Centre Connectivity scheme and the construction of a new train station at Maghull North – the first new station on the Merseyrail network in a generation.
The Government awarded a total of £313m over three Growth Deals to the Liverpool City Region between 2015 and 2021 for capital projects that will benefit the local area and economy. The funding is awarded to the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and then invested through the Combined Authority’s Strategic Investment Fund.
Asif Hamid MBE, Chair of the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said, “I am delighted that the latest figures on Local Growth Fund investment have so far exceeded its targets in creating jobs and supporting new learners. As we know it is essential for our economy that we not only create new jobs but we support people to gain new skills to be able to access these and other opportunities for our future growth. These figures also highlight just how important the Local Growth Fund has been and demonstrate how devolving decision-making, resources and responsibilities from government to local leadership has enabled us to unlock our region’s potential.
“Back in 2014 the LEP, working with both the private and public sector, identified what investment was needed to accelerate our economy such as the Liverpool city centre connectivity; building on our freight and logistics hub capabilities; our ambition to be energy self-sufficient, as well as priorities in skills, innovation and business and I am immensely proud that the vision and priorities we set out back then are coming to fruition for the good of our City Region.”
The Combined Authority has used the funding to pay for a diverse range of projects that have benefitted the entire City Region.
Split between transport, skills, and business growth, the Local Growth Fund has supported nearly 200 projects across all six of Liverpool City Region’s local authorities.