THE Government has awarded £220,500 start-up funding to the new Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership, which will largely replace EEDA when regional development agencies are abolished in 2013.

A spokesman for the LEP said the cash would be used initially to set up a part-time support team, probably three or four-strong, to help co-ordinate the business, local authority and 'third' sector components of the partnership.

The spokesman said the development of the local economy had received a welcome boost from Government, which had pledged 90 per cent of the total amount bid for seedcorn finance.

The partnership originally applied for £245,000 of start-up funding from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) to help support its work during this financial year, including setting up the small core team.

Unpaid chairman Neville Reyner said: "We are thankful to BIS for listening to our calls for a small amount of funding to help towards the start up costs of the LEP. This funding, along with other financial support from our local authorities, will enable us to create a small core team of staff to help deliver our core objectives that have been defined by our business-led board.

"This successful bid is another important step towards helping our LEP achieve its vision to create an economy that delivers significant growth in private sector businesses and jobs over the next 15 years."

The partnership aims over time to double the area's GDP from the current £30billion to £60bn.

The Start-Up Fund is a one year only funding scheme created to support the creation of local enterprise partnerships across England.

The Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP covers Peterborough, Cambridge, Rutland, the Borough of King's Lynn and West Norfolk, Fenland, East Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, South Cambridgeshire, St Edmundsbury, Forest Heath, North Hertfordshire and Uttlesford.

It is standing behind a bid for an enterprise zone at Alconbury Airfield on which a Whitehall decision has been expected since late last month.

Although EEDA received more than £110m a year of Government funding, the LEP will be expected to deliver replacement initiatives for next to nothing.