Tracy Brabin has denounced the government after funding for West Yorkshire businesses was cut in half.
The West Yorkshire mayor was critical of the Cities and Local Growth Unit’s decision to cut funding for local growth clusters. These hubs are local public-private sector partnerships that are led by Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).
Now that the government is cutting funding to the West Yorkshire growth centre, Tracy Brabin has warned the cuts could have ‘damaging consequences’. She said: “The fact that this announcement was made a day before the start of the new financial year adds to the great difficulties that this reduction entails. This is no way to run a country or support an economy recovering from a global pandemic.
“The Growth Hub is an important part of our business support service and the vital work to drive inclusive growth and opportunity for the people of West Yorkshire, and to help the region’s economy recover.”
A spokesman for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: ‘We are absolutely committed to supporting business and economic growth in all parts of the country, through our Leveling Up programme. That’s why we’ve committed an additional £11 million this year to Local Business Partnerships to support the continued delivery of business growth hubs.
“This comes on top of the £400billion package of support we have given businesses in recent years, including VAT cuts, corporate rate holidays and government backed loans.”
Tracy Brabin also pointed out that the cut in funding will mean less money to support small and medium-sized businesses in West Yorkshire “at a time when they need it most”. Critics have also been leveled at the government’s commitment to ‘leveling up’.
The West Yorkshire mayor then said the combined authority would take time to consider its next steps and would continue to advocate for more funding and more power to invest funds.
Sir Roger Marsh, chairman of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, called the funding cuts “bad news for businesses in West Yorkshire”. He said they had already helped 20,000 businesses across Yorkshire as well as 8,000 last year through the pandemic and Brexit.
He said: ‘A 50% reduction in funding and the revelation of that reduction so late in the day will seem to many people very poor recognition for this vitally important work.’
According to the government, local growth poles are designed to provide access to business support and are supposed to help businesses create more jobs. In 2016, then Business Minister Anna Soubry described them as follows: “Growth Centers have already helped thousands of businesses and, with the network fully operational, every business registered in England can access to the expertise it needs to succeed.”
“They will help entrepreneurs boost their business and create more jobs for people in the region. »