Updated: Friday, 22nd September 2017 @ 2:24pm

'Better future for all': Small local firms get £99m fund to build Northern Powerhouse

'Better future for all': Small local firms get £99m fund to build Northern Powerhouse

| By Becky Waterworth

A massive £99million in funding is to be provided to local firms across Cheshire and Warrington to help create jobs and boost skills.

For the first time European Regional Development funds are targeting Local Enterprise Partnership areas in a major shift to more localised spending across the North.

It is a move from the government to kick-start plans for the ‘Northern Powerhouse’.

The hope is that transforming Manchester into an economic powerhouse will attract business and investment into northern cities and towns and reduce the North/South divide.

Local Growth and Northern Powerhouse Minister James Wharton said: “This funding will give the area a chance to contribute more to the national economy and unlock local potential.

“It will ensure we can build a Northern Powerhouse that will have a big and real impact on people’s lives, delivering more jobs, more opportunities and a better future for all.

“We want local partners to come forward with how they want to use this money to drive forward the economy in Cheshire and Warrington. 

“As part of our long-term economic plan this money will provide a big boost to businesses and help create numerous jobs locally that will also benefit people living in towns and villages nearby.”

Small firms around Cheshire and Warrington will now be able to apply for a share of funding from the latest round of the European Regional Development Fund. 

The funding hopes to support innovation, boost businesses, and create jobs across local economies and bring benefits to the wider area.

Around the country £5billion is being made available from the 2014 to 2020 round of the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund to fund these local projects.

The 2007-2013 round of ERDF created 23,673 jobs across the North West from £622.5million of funding.

The government’s one nation approach is supporting all parts of the country, and it is determined to include economies in the North and across Cheshire and Warrington.

£158m from Growth Deals, £50m from Regional Growth Fund, and £13m from the Growing Places Fund have already been invested.

Councillor Terry O’Neill from the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership said clear priorities for growth have been identified.

He said: “Our ESIF Strategy has been developed alongside our Strategic Economic Plan, in collaboration with all key partners in the LEP area, to ensure it is fully grounded in Cheshire and Warrington and to ensure that clear priorities for growth have been identified.

“By 2021, our vision is to be a £26.6bn economy, employing 465,000 people and to be recognised nationally and internationally as a modern, strong, sophisticated and attractive location to live, work, invest and visit.

“Our ESIF includes £66.4m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) which plays an important role in achieving our ambitions and will allow us to deliver a considerable scale of activities to support businesses in key sectors of our economy.”