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Vital funds for region on track; MONEY COULD CREATE JOBS.

Byline: COREENA FORD Reporter coreena.ford@trinitymirror.com @scoopford

A VITAL North East jobs fund with the potential to support 600 firms and create 3,500 jobs is back on track after stalling following the Brexit vote.

The release of the PS120m North East Fund - also known as Jeremie - had been put on pause as the financial organisations involved in the scheme waited for movement on Brexit talks.

But following the recent breakthrough in talks, it has now been announced that the fund is hoped to go live early in the new year.

The fund will offer a range of equity investments and loans to firms, to drive growth and job creation in the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area.

The final piece of the funding jigsaw was agreed in principle this week by the European Investment Bank's (EIB) top level Management Committee, after several months of intensive negotiations which came after the triggering of Article 50 in March.

This positive though still The North to contract, coup for East LEP led the project team negotiating for the region, saying that the loan represented a Helen significant vote of confidence in the North East.

Business organisations in the region have welcomed the announcement.

Simon Hanson, Federation of Small Businesses' development manager in the North East, added: "Getting the second round of Jeremie funds agreed is great news for the North East. The first round of funding was the most successful programme in the country helping the regional economy to hugely decision, subject is a real North Golightly flourish. The new PS120m funds will help smaller firms across the region get the finance they need to help them achieve their growth ambitions. This in turn will help achieve the North East goal of creating more and better jobs across the region.

"We look forward to working with the fund managers to make this a huge success."

Although the fund will invest exclusively in the North East LEP area, it will also sit alongside the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF), operating in other parts of the North, to drive business growth right across the Northern Powerhouse.

The EIB contribution will form part of a PS145m funding package supported by the Department for Communities and Local Government (which has responsibility for the European Regional Development Fund in England) and legacy returns from earlier successful funds operating in the region.

The seven North East Local Authorities, working through the NECA Leadership Board, have also been fully engaged in bringing the programme to fruition.

The fund will provide financial support for more than 600 businesses, creating around 3,500 jobs over the life of the fund and delivering a legacy fund of up to PS80m for further investment in the region over the next decade.

Helen Golightly, executive director for the North East LEP, said: "Our project team has been working continuously with HM Treasury and the EIB behind the scenes to make this fund a reality.

"Both have been committed to the new Fund from day one and we are grateful to them for their support.

"This hugely positive decision, though still subject to contract, is a real coup for the North East and, critically, enables us to retain independence and local control over how these funds are used."

level Management after several intensive a Simon of Small North " regiona"This hugely positive decision, though still subject to contract, is a real coup for the North East Helen Golightly

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Helen Golightly
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 22, 2017
Words:580
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