Cash for partnerships

BUSINESS in Scarborough is in line for a boost after the region’s Local Enterprise Partnerships were granted hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The York and North Yorkshire partnership, which covers Scarborough, has been successful in securing £120,000 from a £5 million start-up fund created by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Bosses at the partnership say they will be spending the money to improve communication with business, including through an improved website and delivering its wider programme.

The York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership was set up after receiving Government approval in February.

Once appointed the board submitted a proposal for the partnership’s ‘Enterprise Zone’ after voting to base it at Scarborough’s Business Park.

Authorisation for the Enterprise Zone is currently being awaited from Government.

Also in line for money from the £5 million start-up fund is the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership, which also covers Scarborough and works closely with Scarborough Council.

The Government has promised £177,000 to the partnership as the private sector also promises to support the venture. A group of 16 businesses have joined with the University of Hull, Hull & Humber Chamber of Commerce, Humber Chemical Focus, and four local authorities to pledge £2,500 each to help the new body get up and running.

However John Clugston, chairman of the Humber partnership, has warned there will be limits to what it can achieve.

He said: “Compared to organisations like Yorkshire Forward that have gone before us our budget is tiny, and the money from Government runs out in March. After that we are on our own.

“That won’t deter us, but it will inevitably constrain what we can do and how quickly we can do it. We will only have a handful of staff and no money to hand out. It will be very different to the old days, but creativity and commitment matter more.

“Most of the time we will be bringing people together to work more effectively, rather than trying to do everything ourselves. Everyone I speak to is up for the challenge and determined to make this work. It is up to us now to harness that, join up with all the people who are willing to contribute ideas, time or resources, and get on with the job.”

The partnership is to create a small team which will work on focusing on marketing the area as a place to do business which will include studying how other ports market themselves and developing a new Humber brand. A website and e-newsletter will be launched shortly and there will also be a recruitment process for the permanent board.

Local Enterprise Partnerships were set up by the Government to replace Regional Development Agencies such as Yorkshire Forward.

They are aimed at delivering economic development planning through a local authority and business partnership.

The York and North Yorkshire partnership board features Scarborough representation through Rob Miller, managing director of specialist bus builders Bluebird Vehicles, who sits alongside Scarborough Council leader Tom Fox.