Mayor announces £40million to boost jobs and growth in London

02 May 2013

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has today announced £40million to encourage jobs and growth in small and medium businesses, technology, science and infrastructure.

This follows the publication today of the London Enterprise Panel's (LEP) strategy setting out a series of recommendations to keep the capital’s economy buoyant and competitive.

The £40 million package is designed to encourage private sector investment and will be targeted across areas identified by the LEP as being of strategic importance to London's economic growth.

The largest portion - £25 million - will be used to create a scheme to raise equity or loan finance for small and medium-sized businesses. With more than 800,000 SMEs in London, representing 50 per cent of all employment opportunities and £430billion of business turnover, the Mayor and the LEP have prioritised support for this important sector.

The remaining £15million is available for investment into the capital's science and technology sector or infrastructure. The Mayor is now calling for funding submissions which meet the LEP’s objectives*.

This is the second round of funds released to support the LEP’s work, which are designed to be revolving meaning money from the central fund is replenished as individual projects pay back their loans, creating the opportunity to issue other loans to new projects.

The Mayor announced the funding as he visited Gü Puds, owned by Noble Foods, on its 10th anniversary. Gü Puds is a London success story that has grown from a small enterprise with £100,000 of start-up money to a large household name with international sales of £80m, now exporting to 12 countries around the world. The company develops and produces all of its premium desserts in Walthamstow, with 90 per cent of its employees based in the capital.

The Mayor, Boris Johnson, said: “My top priority is to get London's economy moving and create jobs. Harnessing the expertise of the London Enterprise Panel, we have taken a forensic look at what type of support is needed to oil the wheels of enterprise in this city. Today’s fund, which will enable significant support for small and medium businesses, is just one way we are working to unlock potential and provide jobs for our growing city. I look forward to collaborating with the LEP as we champion further ways to ensure London retains its competitive edge among world cities.”

The London Enterprise Panel (London’s Local Enterprise Partnership) has identified four priority areas to boost London's economy and cope with predicted skills needs. The LEP's Jobs and Growth Plan published today after months of consultations, contains a series of aims and recommendations. In summary, these cover the following areas:

• Raise skill levels and increase employment opportunities to ensure Londoners can compete for London’s job needs – recommendations include LEP funding for an apprentice campaign; working with employers to increase placements with a view to create 250,000 apprenticeships by 2015;

• Champion small and medium sized enterprises to support and grow businesses – includes LEP a commitment to increase SME exports; increase access to finance; identify workspace needs and explore affordable workspace options;

• Support digital, creative, science and technology sector to position the capital globally as a world leading hub – the LEP will encourage and incentivise collaboration across these sectors for example, through competitions and challenges; help entrepreneurs to market-test ideas; promote London’s world-beating universities and research base; attract major global science and technology events to the city; increase science and tech apprenticeships; lever European money;

• Encourage infrastructure investment into London to keep the city moving and functioning – LEP funding will support infrastructure projects; seek to promote globally London’s expertise in delivering infrastructure projects;

Kit Malthouse, Deputy Mayor for Business and Enterprise, co-chair of the London Enterprise Panel, said: “Our priorities are twofold. We must create opportunities for as many Londoners as possible to become economically active. We must also fit the city for the future, helping it to adapt to a global economy that can shift jobs and capital across time zones in a matter of weeks. These twin objectives require strategic focus, and we hope that is what you will find in the document published today. Over the last few months we have consulted with London on our plans and equipped the London Enterprise Partnership to deliver on the task it has been set.”

Harvey McGrath, co-chair of the London Enterprise Panel, said: “I want to thank everyone, particularly London’s private sector, who have contributed to this plan in the past months of extensive conversations, meetings and consultations. This invaluable dialogue has distilled into a series of business-friendly recommendations and targets to strengthen London’s position as a world-leading economy.”

The Mayor has secured £111million from the Government's Growing Places Fund to support the work of the London Enterprise Panel. Last month the Mayor and the LEP provided £2million for Film London, enabling it to capitalise on a new tax relief for TV and animation production. It is anticipated this will attract £200m worth of additional expenditure through TV and animation production and create 1000 industry jobs.

A total of around £70million has been allocated or is in the pipeline for bids received in the first round of funding. These are now being worked up into detailed proposals with a view to confirm more funding announcements in the coming months.

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Notes to editors

• The London Enterprise Jobs and Growth Plan can be found at: www.london.gov.uk/londonenterprisepanel

• The Growing Places Fund round 2 prospectus detailing application details for the £40million fund announced today including a timetable for proposals can be found here: www.london.gov.uk/londonenterprisepanel

• This invites ideas for a possible SME Finance Scheme of up to £25m to leverage private sector investment and to run a scheme to that will provide additional capacity for London SMEs seeking to access loan or equity funding to grow their business. If agreed the Greater London Authority will procure a body to set up and run this fund.

• The national Growing Places Fund is designed to: Generate economic activity in the short term by addressing immediate infrastructure and site constraints and promote the delivery of jobs and housing; to allow local enterprise partnerships to prioritise the infrastructure they need, empowering them to deliver their economic strategies; to establish sustainable revolving funds so that funding can be reinvested to unlock further development, and leverage private investment.

• The Mayor is committed to openness in all aspects of his administration and is committed to making the work of this Panel transparent. Agendas and papers for the Panel and any Working Groups will therefore be posted on the GLA’s website at least two clear working days before the meeting to which they relate. Papers will be released with the agenda except in those cases where the Secretary reasonably considers that information contained in the papers may be exempt from disclosure under an applicable exemption under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

• Further information on the LEP can be found at: www.london.gov.uk/londonenterprisepanel