WEARSIDE’S green economy drive has been handed a £17million boost.
The North Eastern Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP), which oversees the new Enterprise Zone along the A19 near Nissan, has been given the cash from the Government’s Growing Places Fund.
The money aims to help create new jobs and drive forward the region’s economy. It will be used to help start housing and economic development schemes which are struggling to attract investment in tough economic times.
LEP chairman Paul Woolston said: “This new resource is timely and demonstrates real faith in the LEP to manage and deploy funding in line with the strategic priorities of growing key sectors and strengthening infrastructure.
“We will be inviting interested parties to submit proposals to the LEP that fit with our criteria and the aim of the board to see the funding used in order to accelerate economic opportunity and generate a rolling investment fund.”
The NELEP has received the fifth largest allocation of cash of the 39 Partnerships nationwide.
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Gary Hutchinson, chairman of the Sunderland committee of the North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC), said: “This cash for the LEP represents a first significant step to giving the body some of the tools it requires to make a difference in its role.
“The business community welcomes funding streams which should help catalyse projects and potential inward investment.
The SAFC commercial director added: “It is important that Sunderland businesses move quickly to assess the criteria required.
“The NECC will support business bids as needed throughout the process.
The North Eastern LEP covers the local authority areas of Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland and includes business, local authorities, universities, colleges and the voluntary and community sector.
It has a population of two million and an economy valued at £32 billion per annum.