Revealed: Where £180m of taxpayers’ money has been spent in Cambridgeshire
A group of business leaders and politicians who decide where tens of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money is spent in Cambridgeshire has revealed where that money has gone.
And in a victory for transparency, the group has published a register of interests for its board members so the public can see if its members’ projects are benefiting from the public cash it is giving out.
The Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for Cambridge called the GCGP has been under pressure for weeks to be more transparent after North East Cambs MP Steve Barclay raised concerns about how it was allocating taxpayers’ money.
The LEP was set up in 2010 to boost the economy of Cambridgeshire by encouraging new homes, jobs and businesses.
The GCGP gets money from the government which it then decides where to spend locally.
It has given out around £188m of funding, according to its figures, including £50m towards the A14 upgrade, £22m to the Ely Southern bypass and £11.5m to the Wisbech Access Strategy.
It has also given £10.5m of funding to a project on the enterprise zone at Alconbury Weald near Huntingdonshire.
•Search our tables above to see where the money has been spent and who is on the LEP board
The areas to get the most money are East Cambs, Peterborough and Fenland.
That funding includes loans and grants through schemes run by the LEP called the Growing Places Fund, the Growth Deal and the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative.
The Agri-Tech funding decisions are made by a separate board for Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire which is why some places outside of Cambridgeshire are included in the table.
Decisions about where LEP money goes are made by GCGP board members who include business and political leaders in Cambridgeshire.
But the LEP has come under fire for not publishing a register of interest showing its board members business and other interests and not recording declarations of interests at its private board meetings where it decides where to allocate funds.
In November last year it began putting declarations of interest in the minutes of its meetings and on Tuesday it published a register of interests of its 14 board members, which we have published in the table above.