More than £104 million is currently being invested into the region’s economy to create thousands of homes and jobs thanks to the Marches Growth Deal.
The LEP negotiated the deals to secure support from the Government’s Local Growth Fund which has seen millions already going to key projects across the Marches area. The first round of Growth Deal funding in 2014 (£75.3m) concentrated mainly on road infrastructure projects to enable housing and employment sites to be developed, and the second round (£7.7m) focused entirely on supporting the rollout of superfast broadband. An overview of the Growth Deal projects can be found here.
The latest award of Growth Deal 3 funding was announced in March 2017 providing a boost of £21.9 million for the Marches with a focus on innovation and skills, to help create jobs, support businesses and encourage growth through the following projects.
- The New Model Institute in Technology and Engineering, Herefordshire
- Newport Innovation and Enterprise Package, Newport, Telford & Wrekin
- Cyber Quarter – Midlands Centre for Cyber Security, Rotherwas, Herefordshire
- Investing in Our Future Workforce, Marches-wide skills project
- Redevelopment of the Flaxmill Maltings, Shrewsbury, Shropshire.
To help mitigate the risk of potential underspend within the Growth Deal Programme the LEP Board agreed to conduct an Open Call Process. At the 24 March 2020 LEP Board meeting a decision was taken to allocate £27m of Growth Deal funds towards 6 new projects. This funding became available following a decision in January 2020 to cancel an existing Growth Deal project
Value for money on LEP projects
The delivery of projects can be complex, requiring a robust LEP governance structure. The Marches LEP recognises this and has ensured that a strong structure is in place which provides a robust and accountable process for assessing and prioritising schemes. The principles of this approach have been adopted by the LEP Partnership Board and integrated into the LEP governance structure, in considering the wider range of LEP projects coming through the Marches SEP.
The framework provides a clear decision-making process, supporting the development of integrated investment packages that contribute directly to the delivery of the SEP’s economic objectives/targets. It also ensures a robust risk management process which will continue to ensure accountability, deliverability and value for money. The framework, which is compliant with the HM Treasury Green Book appraisal scheme, is detailed within section 6 of the LEP’s Accountability and Assurance Framework.
The Green Book scheme is also followed by project promoters when they prepare the business case for their projects. This requires project promoters to use the ‘Five Case Model’, there are five cases which should be included when developing the business case for a project: strategic case, why is the scheme needed; economic case, is the scheme good value for money; financial case, is the scheme affordable and financially sustainable; commercial case, can the scheme be procured and constructed, and management case, is the scheme deliverable?
For transport infrastructure projects, project promoters are required to conduct business case appraisals and value for money assessments using the Department for Transport’s WebTAG tool kit
The Growth Deal projects focus on four key areas, infrastructure, broadband and skills and you can find individual profiles of current projects on each of the below pages.