UK $118m for Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund

In his Autumn Statement the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer said the fund will begin investing in small businesses in northern England in early 2017.

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond announced a £95m ($118m) allocation to the £400m Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) on Wednesday, and said the fund will begin investing in small businesses in early 2017.

Hammond’s Autumn Statement, informing Parliament of the government’s latest tax and spending priorities, stated that a total of £95m will be diverted to the fund between 2016 and 2021, starting with an initial £10m investment in 2016-17.

Former Chancellor George Osborne announced the creation of the fund in his 2015 Autumn Statement in order to boost investment, economic growth and jobs across the north of England.

Osborne envisioned the north of England, which hosts more than one million private sector businesses, as a “Northern Powerhouse” with strong economic growth and a booming private sector.

State-owned lender British Business Bank partnered local enterprise eartnerships – which connect local councils and businesses to support growth and jobs – in Yorkshire and the Humber, the North West and Tees Valley to set up the fund.

The Autumn Statement also revealed the UK government is allocating £130m to the £250m Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), which will start investing in 2017.

The MEIF is intended to bolster the economy in the Midlands and support the growth of its 460,000 small and medium-sized businesses. Osborne announced the creation of MEIF in his March 2016 Budget.

Like NPIF, MEIF is the result of a joint agreement between the British Business Bank and regional LEPs, and will draw on funding from the European Union and the Bank.

The UK government also extended a key deadline for bidders who need state guarantees to apply for European Union funding on Wednesday, North West Place reported.

The guarantees are needed as a result of Britain’s June 23 vote to leave the EU. The Chancellor said in August 2016 that projects seeking EU structural investment funding (ESIF) would need to obtain government approval by November 23.

ESIF includes the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which aims to promote economic and social cohesion. The UK is set to receive €3.6bn ($3.8bn) in the ERDF’s 2014-2020 program.

Funding experts familiar with the ESIF bidding process told North West Place that applicants have now been given more time to apply even though the Autumn Statement deadline has passed.

Submissions awaiting government approval include Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s application to invest £32m of EU funds in NPIF.

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