Government promises extra funds for cash-strapped LEPs
By Helen Crane Friday, 28 September 2012
Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) will benefit from £24m in government funding following concerns that lack of money has compromised their independence.
LEPs are intended to function as voluntary, self-funded partnerships between businesses and local authorities, but participating businesses have claimed that the distribution of funds is uneven.
Robert McClements, chief executive of Print Yorkshire, which used to be part-funded by RDA Yorkshire Forward, said that "the structure provided by Yorkshire Forward has never been properly replaced".
He added that, as a result of the switch to LEPs, print businesses in the North "have all been struggling because of the lack of resources available with which to properly distribute funds".
Much of Print Yorkshire’s funding shortfall has been met by the BPIF, which according to McClements began applying for additional grants, including some from Europe, in order to help struggling businesses.
However, Mark Snee managing director of Technoprint in Leeds, argued that the government’s record of investing in print was mixed at best, with significant sums effectively wasted on companies or organisations that no longer existed.
"The economy is in deep, deep trouble," he added. "The deficit for the first five months was up 26.7% on last year and what these schemes amount to is spending money the government hasn’t got and the country hasn’t got.
"When you look at it from that point of view, adding the fact that the UK printing industry has been in continuous contraction since the year 2000, then why you would want to put the taxpayer’s money into it is beyond me.
"We need to get the economy functioning properly. Regardless of whether two print companies and the BPIF derive a bit of financial benefit from LEPs, the country is [still] going to hell in a handbasket."Tweet
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