To consider the report of the Director of City Development which sets out proposals for how the Council will respond to the Government’s ‘Levelling Up’ Fund.
The Director of City Development submitted a report which set out proposals for how the Council intended to respond to the Government’s ‘Levelling Up’ Fund, which was released as part of the March 2021 Budget, with it being noted that the related prospectus presented an opportunity to bid for significant capital investment for the delivery of projects from the 2021/22 financial year.
As part of the introduction to the report, the Board noted the intention for an additional meeting of the Board to be held prior to the submission of any bid(s) and before the 18th June 2021 Round 1 Levelling Up Fund submission deadline, to consider the proposals.
Responding to a Member’s enquiry, in acknowledging the tight timeframe involved, the Board received further detail and assurance that consultation would take place with local MPs in line with the Fund’s requirements. In addition, it was noted that consultation would also take place with local Ward Councillors, initially with those Members affected by the proposals being considered for Round 1 submission, with the same principle for Ward Councillor engagement being used for future rounds when those details were known.
In considering the report a Member commented upon the need for all communities in Leeds to have equal opportunity to access this and other funding streams; highlighted the longer term and collaborative approach required to enable districts and communities to maximise the benefit from such funding, and enquired whether this could potentially be an area for future consideration by the Board.
In response, Members were provided with further detail regarding average levels of potential funding available per constituency and per Priority 1 Local Authority area, with any funding secured being subject to Leeds’ success in the bidding process. Also, emphasis was placed upon the importance of Leeds, and all communities within it, maximising the benefit from all external funding streams which were being made available, with the potential benefits from a longer term approach towards such matters being acknowledged.
(a) That the approach, as detailed within the submitted report, to bringing forward bids to the Levelling Up Fund, be noted and supported, with it being agreed that constituency MP’s within the Leeds Metropolitan District boundary are asked to indicate their priorities for investment, so that these can be taken into consideration by the Council;
(b) That agreement be given for the Director of City Development to undertake an assessment and a prioritisation of projects for the Levelling Up Fund in consultation with relevant Executive Members, as set out in paragraphs 3.4 – 3.11 of the submitted report;
(c) That agreement be given for proposals for Round 1 bids to be considered at an additional meeting of Executive Board to take place prior to the submission of any bid(s) and before the 18th June 2021 Levelling Up Fund submission deadline;
(d) That the intention to bring a further report to Executive Board be noted, which will relate to the submission of bids for future rounds of the Levelling Up Fund and in relation to any changes to the Government prospectus and guidance.