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Levelling Up – A first look at what it could mean for businesses in South / South West

There is recognition in the white paper that to achieve some of the objectives set out there in “… means supporting the private sector – the real engine of wealth creation to invest more, grow more and take more risks.”

So, I have had a read through the recently published “Levelling Up the United Kingdom: Executive Summary”.  My focus was on anything which may have a direct impact on businesses in the South/ South West.

My finds were as follows:

R&D funding
  • Increase in public R&D investment to £20bn by 2024-25
  • Target for total UK R&D investment to reach 2.4% of GDP by 2027
  • The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will aim to invest at least 55% of its total domestic R&D funding outside the Greater South East by 2024‑25
Financial Capital and Investment
  • Spreading financial capital and investment to the places, projects and people that need it most
  • £3bn of UK Government investment in British Business Bank Regional Investment Funds
  • The new Global Britain Investment Fund will improve access to finance for SMEs and increase globally mobile investment across the UK
Increasing institutional and local investment
  • Freeports, Enterprise Zones and the Super-deduction – using the tax system to incentivise private sector investment
  • A call for the “Investment Big Bang” to boost Britain’s long-term growth
  • Local Government Pension Funds to publish plans for increasing local investment, including setting an ambition of up to 5% of assets invested in projects which support local areas
Access to government  contracts
  • Smaller contracts to be reserved for UK suppliers and will legislate to put social value at the heart of government spending
  • £2.6bn UK Shared Prosperity Fund will be used to restore local pride across the UK
  • Investment focussed on three main areas; improving communities and place, people and skills, and supporting local business

We will of course wait to see what detail emerges on the above initiatives.

UK Shared Prosperity Fund

Whilst writing this blog I thought I would check up on the much heralded UK Shared Prosperity Fund.   As you may be aware this was touted as the replacement for EU funding. It was disappointing to read “the Treasury committee’s report, published last week, said while EU structural funds between 2014 and 2020 were worth on average £2.5bn a year, the UKSPF will be worth only £1.5bn a year by 2024-25.”

PKF Francis Clark

We try and keep abreast of funding initiatives that may be of relevance to our business clients. We collate details of potential sources of funding for SMEs in our “Finance in…” factsheets.  These can be found on our website at link.

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