Monday, 13 June 2011 16:18

Council calls for fairer rural funding

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Council calls for fairer rural funding

RURAL areas are being neglected for economic development funding, a local authority has warned.

Shropshire Council said it was concerned that rural areas such as Shropshire and the Marches were losing out to other areas.

The council's cabinet will be asked on Wednesday (15 June) to approve a strong lobbying campaign through local MPs and business leaders.

The move comes after a £36m bid from the newly-formed Marches LEP to the government's £1.4bn Regional Growth Fund (RGF) was unsuccessful.

The Marches LEP is the economic development partnership vehicle for Shropshire, Herefordshire and Telford & Wrekin.

Under the first round of the Regional Growth Fund, the Marches LEP had bid for £36m to spend on various regeneration projects.

But each bid was unsuccessful.

The LEP is now considering lobbying government as it explores the viability of re-submitting any unsuccessful bids to round two of the RGF.

The council's cabinet will also be asked to agree to the submission of an LEP Enterprise Zone proposal, and an LEP start-up fund bid.

Mike Owen, Shropshire Council's Cabinet member for economic growth and prosperity, said he hoped to highlight the county's strengths.

"The Marches LEP has made good progress in the eight months since it was formed, and a strong foundation and structure has been established.

"We are extremely disappointed that the LEP's bid for Regional Growth Fund money was unsuccessful.

"We want the government to recognise that rural areas such as Shropshire and the Marches can also make a real impact on enterprise creation and private sector job growth."

The LEP vision is to create the conditions for a strong, diverse and enterprising business base resulting in an increase in sustainable private sector jobs.

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