Government neglect of Portsmouth SMEs shocking missed opportunity

FOI request reveals local Growth Hub receives lowest level of funding in England despite serving highest number of businesses

MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, has criticised the Government for failing small businesses in the area after a freedom of information request revealed Solent Local Enterprise Partnership receives the lowest level of per business funding in the country for its Growth Hub.

The Solent LEP’s engagement with the local business community is primarily driven by its Growth Hub service which, through a variety of channels, has undertaken more than 29,000 engagements with business during the last year alone. The Solent is home to over 50,000 businesses, the vast majority of which are SMEs.

However, it was recently discovered that Solent LEP are one of only 12 LEPs to receive the lowest total level of funding (£205,000 per annum) to provide a Growth Hub service in the current period. Of these 12 LEPs, the Solent’s % share of VAT/PAYE registered businesses in England 2016 (including SMEs) is listed as the highest and, per business, this effectively positions the Solent’s settlement as the lowest.

This means SMEs in the Solent are receiving the lowest level of Growth Hub resource in England.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

‘It’s hugely disappointing to see yet another nonsensical Tory funding formula that means Portsmouth loses out. People here are fed up of the Government treating us an afterthought.

Our city has some of the most exciting and dynamic small businesses in the country, our potential is huge, and yet we receive the lowest growth hub funding in England. This isn’t just a blow to the local economy, it’s a massive missed opportunity.

Portsmouth’s SMEs deserve far better and I’ll be seeking assurances from the Department for BEIS that our allocation of growth support will be reviewed as a matter of urgency.’

Since his election last year, Stephen has been supporting local businesses with a variety of campaigns and actions, from tackling high-street break-ins, to holding a number of summits for SMEs up in Westminster.

He will also shortly be launching a new scheme encouraging people to shop locally.