SEMLEP celebrates growth fund success in Milton Keynes - Destination Milton Keynes
SEMLEP celebrates growth fund success in Milton Keynes

SEMLEP celebrates growth fund success in Milton Keynes

By the year 2030 more than 40,000 new homes will be built, 22,000 people in new jobs and at least 9,000 more learners qualified across Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire.

A report, commissioned by the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP), has today [13th July, 2021] been published – focused on the economic impact of SEMLEP’s £265million Local Growth Fund (LGF) investment programme.

The multi-million-pound pot of funding, which has funded 55 capital projects across the area between 2015 and 2021 has been used to support business growth and productivity, fund new transport schemes and homes, and generate new jobs and opportunities for students.

Hilary Chipping, Chief Executive of SEMLEP, said: “Our Local Growth Fund investment has transformed and continues to transform Milton Keynes and the wider South East Midlands, significantly boosting the economy and creating new jobs, apprenticeships, learning opportunities and commercial floorspace.

“This report demonstrates that with clear strategic direction, vision and collaboration, fantastic results can be achieved.”

Here are just three examples of Milton Keynes projects:
People and skills: SEMLEP invested £767,000 in Milton Keynes’ YMCA, a project which combines affordable housing with social enterprises and provides employment and training opportunities for some of the area’s most disadvantaged young people. There is also a café, nursery and meeting and conference facilities which provide a sustainable income stream to the YMCA. This project also created 20 new jobs and training spaces alongside the 200 new homes, funded in part by Homes England.

Places and regeneration: £1.3million of funding helped Milton Keynes Gallery transform and expand their contemporary art space – successfully increasing visitor numbers to the city. Thirteen new jobs and more than 100 volunteer roles were created, and visitor numbers are aiming at over 70,000 a year. The expansion provides spaces for major exhibitions both contemporary and historical, films, music, performance, family events, workshops, and social spaces, a place that puts a clear emphasis on community engagement, and democratic access to the best of the arts.

Business innovation:
SEMLEP’s funding has resulted in Milton Keynes now hosting the UK’s first standalone 5G network – which is powering up robots, medical devices, driverless cars, and energy saving devices to keep residents healthy and the city moving and sustainable. Via its MK:5G Accelerator programme, managed by Milton Keynes Council and led by Connected Places Catapult, businesses from across the UK are now trialling this next generation of mobile internet connection in Milton Keynes, using the new 5G to do everything from managing traffic flow and powering up driverless vehicles, to enabling patients to be monitored without having to see a specialist or leave their homes.

Peter Horrocks CBE, Chair of SEMLEP, said: “I am immensely proud of the whole team for the successful delivery of so many outstanding projects. In particular, I want to draw attention to one sentence in the evaluation summary, which I wholeheartedly agree with – ‘Programme management is overwhelmingly seen as extremely strong and an example of best practice. Relationship building and beginning to end involvement is exemplary and considered a key contributor to the success of
the programme.’

“Having seen at the board how tightly the team manage the programme and on site how strong relationships are with all partners, I am not surprised by the findings – a real tribute to the whole SEMLEP team.”

Evaluation report highlights:


  • At the end of 2020, the new homes and households created as a result of LGF funded projects were generating an annual increase in local spending of around £25million. By 2030 this is likely to be nearer £186million a year
  • At the end of 2020, the annual increase in gross value added (GVA is a measurement of productivity) was around £173million, while in 2030 it is projected to be £656million a year.


  • At the end of 2020 more than 5,500 learners had been trained or were mid training. Their increased wages due to new qualifications will result in an estimated £5.9million more being spent locally every year. By 2030 this rises to 9,000 learners and 8.5million local spending every year.
  • 484 apprentices had started their placements at the end of 2020, likely to increase productivity in the area by around £3.8million every year. By 2030 this increases to over 1,360 who will have the potential to increase productivity by £9.5million a year.


  • Investment in business growth and expansion created increased floorspace to accommodate around 3,500 more employees in 2020. By 2030 this is set to increase to nearly 4,000.
  • £5million of private sector funding was invested in research and development as a result of the LGF projects in 2020, expected to rise to £26million by 2030.

This independent Local Growth Fund Evaluation was commissioned by SEMLEP and conducted by funding experts Focus Consultants, who carried out detailed research over a three-month period earlier this year. The evaluation aims to articulate the impact of the programme and identify areas of learning for future funding delivery.

Hilary added: “Our mission is to build on the South East Midlands’ reputation as a premier location for growth, innovation, creativity, and world-leading technologies, which will result in a doubling of the area’s GVA by 2050. Local Growth Fund investment, which we have been investing across the region since 2015, has played a pivotal role in ensuring we are on track to achieve our ambitious targets.”

For a full list of SEMLEP’s Local Growth Fund projects and to view the Local Growth Fund Evaluation summary and full document, visit: