Investment pot of £120m for North East

Northumberland Gazette latest
Northumberland Gazette latest

The North East Combined Authority (NECA) has reaffirmed its intention to secure a valuable £120million pot of funding for the exclusive use of regional businesses.

The authority is working in partnership with the North East LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) to secure the funds.

Both organisations are working closely to an end-of-October deadline when funding agreements need to be signed with the UK Government and the European Union. This is for the successor fund to Finance for Business North East, also known as JEREMIE.

At its meeting last Tuesday, the NECA Leadership Board, which is composed of the leaders of the region’s seven councils, agreed to put special local-authority borrowing powers in place, which would allow the new fund to be ready to invest in scores of North East businesses when the original scheme stops at the end of this year.

The successor scheme – known provisionally as JEREMIE 2 – proposes that £58.5million of European Regional Development cash, a loan from the European Investment Bank of up to £60million and the remainder of legacy funding from previous loan investments will be brought together to create a £120million investment pot.

Coun Paul Watson, NECA chairman, said: “We are working closely with the North East LEP to ensure this highly successful fund continues next year and for many years to come.

“Equity investment and loans are crucial for new and growing firms to be able to plan ahead with greater certainty, creating new jobs and economic growth in the North East.”

It is estimated that JEREMIE 2 could provide financial support for 600 businesses; help create around 3,500 jobs over the next five years and deliver a legacy fund of up to £80million over the next decade for further financial support to businesses.

JEREMIE’s predecessor has already seen more than £140million invested, leveraged in a further £200million for nearly 900 small to medium enterprises, and helped create or safeguard thousands of jobs.