Thames Valley, Bucks, Swindon & Wilts secures vital government funding to boost regional economies

Photo shows: Swindon Carriage Works
Swindon Carriageworks

Shovel-ready projects across Swindon, Wiltshire, the Thames Valley and Buckinghamshire have been given the green light today after the government confirmed its allocation from the £900 million Getting Building Fund.

The Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership has secured £7.5 million. This includes funding for a Pharma and Life Sciences Lab where 300 young people will receive scientific work experience in a high-quality laboratory. Newbury College and BCA will jointly create a 475 sqm Renewable Resource Facility in Newbury which will generate economic benefit by increasing the number of qualified engineers able to install energy efficient systems. BCA will equip an existing College facility to provide for training in servicing and maintenance of hybrid and electric vehicles, responding to increased demand for these skills from the motor industry.and a Future Skills Hub in Slough, one of the English towns most impacted by Covid-19. The Hub will create opportunities for employment, skills training, and apprenticeship support and drive social mobility. It will place a minimum of 200 people into employment and ensure over 1,500 people gain appropriate skills required by industry.

Swindon & Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership has secured £9.7 million, which includes funding for a Business Cyber Centre, creation of a new research and innovation centre at Porton Science Park and the revitalisation of Swindon’s Carriage Works, Grade-II listed buildings, built 150 years ago by the Great Western Railway. The revitalisation secures a sustainable future for this key heritage asset and the LEP aims to attract high tech incoming businesses to support Swindon’s ambition to compete at the forefront of digital innovation, using technology for positive change. The anchor tenants, Royal Agricultural University and the University of Bath, will attract learners through to level 8, and importantly young entrepreneurs/start up SMEs.

Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership has secured £7.7 million for four keys projects to support economic growth in Buckinghamshire.

The Westcott Disruptive Innovative Space Centre, expansion of the National Film & TV School site, a Centre for Artificial Intelligence and iHub Incubation and Innovation at the University of Buckingham  and the Rural Broadband Programme – Remote Access Rapid Expansion.

In addition to the Getting Building Fund, Bucks LEP has also reallocated the remaining £1.7 million of its Local Growth Fund investment to create a total funding allocation of £9.4m to these projects and to also support the Silverstone Sports Innovation Hub. This will mean that schemes which can be supported through a combination of funds can progress without delay, ensuring that project timescales can be advanced and help ensure that its remaining Local Growth Fund commitments can be delivered by March 2021 and Getting Building Fund projects be delivered by December 2021.

Alison Webster, Chief Executive of Thames Valley Berkshire LEP, said: “The investment from Government is welcome and the LEP was both vigorous in its pursuit of funding and effective in its targeted use of this money to maximise benefit to the local economy. Thames Valley  Berkshire contributes  £42.5 billion to the UK’s GVA, the largest economic output of any LEP outside of London, so whilst we shall always welcome a greater allocation of funds we are determined to maximise the impact of this further contribution to the area’s recovery”.

“I am delighted to announce that in June we secured local approval to proceed with seven infrastructure projects worth £7.4 million and later in July we aim to approve another five projects worth just under £5 million.”