Berkshire: LEP secures £7.5m for infrastructure projects

In June the Government tasked Local Enterprise Partnerships to submit bids for funding of ‘ready to go’ projects to boost local economies as part of the response to Covid-19 and economic recovery.

Thames Valley Berkshire LEP collaborated with the six Berkshire local authorities and other stakeholders in order to accelerate existing projects which met the required criteria. The LEP submitted an ambitious proposal of up to £45 million for 27 such infrastructure projects in Berkshire that could be completed by January 2022.

As a result Thames Valley Berkshire LEP has secured an allocation of £7.5m from the Government’s £900m Getting Building Fund.

Peter Read, chairman of Thames Valley Berkshire LEP, said: “This additional £7.5m … will enable the LEP to bring forward some of our already extensive strategic economic programme of activity for Berkshire. To date, we have assigned nearly £172m to infrastructure projects in the area, with nearly half of this money allotted to sustainable road, rail and cycle projects. This clearly demonstrates our commitment to deliver an ongoing and viable green recovery.”

Thames Valley Berkshire LEP will by the end of March 2021 have allocated over £142m of Local Growth Funds and £36m of Business Rate Retention Pilot monies on a programme of projects across infrastructure, skills, education and the business environment.

Alison Webster, LEP chief executive, added: “The investment from Government is welcome and the LEP was both vigorous in its pursuit of funding and effective in its targeted use of this money to maximise benefit to the local economy. Thames Valley Berkshire contributes  £42.5 billion to the UK’s GVA, the largest economic output of any LEP outside of London, so whilst we shall always welcome a greater allocation of funds we are determined to maximise the impact of this further contribution to the area’s recovery.

“I am delighted to announce that in June we secured local approval to proceed with seven infrastructure projects worth £7.4m and later in July we aim to approve another five projects worth just under £5m.”

In the aftermath of Covid-19, and looking towards a programme of economic recovery the LEP is revisiting its Local Industrial Strategy to ensure that it meets future local needs. It will reflect the new realities, and steer the economy towards the Government’s medium and longer term objectives for a restructured economy driven by sustainable outcomes.