County Council set to create new fighting fund for jobs and growth

October 9, 2013 7:24 am

A new £1m fund for jobs and growth could be set up by Nottinghamshire County Council, if plans to revamp its Local Improvement Scheme (LIS) are agreed later this month.

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Proposals to be discussed by the Council’s Policy Committee on 16 October would see the creation of a yearly £1m Nottinghamshire Economic Development Capital Fund for 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17.  The fund would be used to support a small number of major schemes across the county with a remit of:

  • Supporting infrastructure and environment developments to create jobs and increase economic growth
  • Supporting local businesses through the purchase of new equipment and machinery or an expansion to premises

 

A requirement to provide apprenticeship, training and employment opportunities for local people would be tied into any funding provided.  Projects backed by the new fund are likely to be delivered in partnership with other organisations, such as District and Borough Councils, businesses or the Local Enterprise Partnership. This would increase the likelihood of levering in additional, external funding.

Councillor Alan Rhodes, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “Job creation, economic growth and training was a key priority in our manifesto and I am delighted we are able to bring forward this new fund to support our aims, despite the financial challenges facing the Council.  The £1m fund will be used to support a small number of major projects, which could include anything from transport to work schemes and town centre improvements to business expansions and bringing redundant buildings back into productive use.  By working with partners and external funders, we will ensure that every £1 spent will have the maximum impact in terms of jobs created, infrastructure improved and apprenticeship and training opportunities provided.”

The current LIS has an annual budget of £3m, which is used for a variety of small capital projects such as the restoration of buildings, skate parks, creating pathways and restoring shop fronts.  As well as creating the £1m Economic Development Fund, the proposals to be discussed by Policy Committee also include the creation of a £500,000 Supporting Local Communities Fund, which would carry on the good work of the current LIS by delivering community-based environmental schemes.

Schemes will be prioritised if they meet certain criteria, including attracting match-funding, reducing crime, encouraging volunteering, supporting economic viability and community ownership. Priority will be given to schemes in areas of deprivation.  The remaining £1.5m from the current LIS allocation would be put towards the £154m savings the Council must make over the next three years due to substantial Government budget cuts and increasing demand for services to vulnerable people.

Councillor Rhodes added, “LIS projects have made a positive contribution to the environment in communities across the county and I am pleased that we have managed to retain some funding to continue their good work.  Because of the ongoing, unprecedented cuts to Government funding for Councils, we are having to reprioritise the way we allocate funding for projects in the future. Given these restrictions, I believe we have come up with a way of ensuring money is spent in as fair a way as possible in areas of greatest need.”

Under the proposals, the Nottinghamshire Economic Development Fund would be administered by the County Council’s Economic Development Committee.  The Environment and Sustainability Committee, which currently administers the LIS, would retain responsibility for the new Supporting Local Communities Fund.  The Policy Committee report is available to download from the County Council’s website: www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk

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