‘Local Growth’ white paper confirms Regional Growth Fund bids open to social enterprises & SMEs

Yesterday’s Regen & Renewal online has good coverage of the government’s new Local Growth White Paper and what it has to say about LEPs — local enterprise partnerships, covered elsewhere on this blog.

The white paper confirms that:

  • LEPs will be expected to fund their own day-to-day running costs. They may bid to the £1.4 billion Regional Growth Fund, but will not receive preferential treatment.
  • The Government is to consult on proposals to allow councils to keep locally-raised business rates.
  • A new delivery structure for distributing ERDF cash will be announced in next year’s budget.
  • DCLG will be in charge of disposing of RDAs’ assets and there will be no presumption that these should be disposed in favour of either local councils or LEPs.

The first round of bidding for cash from the Regional Growth Fund is now open with a minimum bidding threshold of £1 million — but the Fund is also open to social enterprises and these will be able to bid for sums below £1m for local projects — more here.

The RGF will be chaired by Michael Heseltine. You can read a profile of each of its decision-making panel members here.

The Social Enterprise Coalition and some other regional SE networks have been lobbying for the Fund to include stringent social benefit clauses and require bidders to demonstrate social benefit via SROI as a means of ensuring that the Fund achieves its aims for economic fairness and social justice. Read about that here.

There will presumably be a Birmingham/Black Country LEP bid — we should be lobbying for it to include resources to help provide social enterprise business support and also to ensure that any criteria used in the bid to enable the direct investment of resources in high growth companies (which I think is possible under the terms of the RGF) also favour social enterprises.

The closing date for RGF round one bids is 21st January 2011. Details and guidance here.

You can download the new White Paper here.

Thanks to Chris Newis for the pointer to this story.

  1. Kevin Maton Reply

    Just to confirm – those social enterprises that do not have an individual project worth £1million + then they can apply collectively with other social enterprises, private sector and eligible public sector organisations as part of a Project package.
    A project Package is: “A number of individually specified projects that form a coherent package and that together make a specific and significant contribution to the core aims
    of the Regional Growth Fund. In aggregate the package must meet the Bid Threshold of £1million. ” This from the RGF Guidance Pack

    • Alun Severn Reply

      Thanks for expanding on that, Kevin.

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