Published On: Tue, Dec 9th, 2014 on 2:07 pm

£1.5m internet boost to create over 1,000 jobs in Leeds and Bradford

Shot By Sodium

Leeds-based Shot by Sodium connected to superfast broadband via the scheme

Over 1,500 jobs are expected to be created in Leeds and Bradford in 2015 as a result of £1.5m of government ‘connection voucher’ grants awarded to over 800 small businesses since February.

The funding covers the costs of installing high-speed internet connectivity, as part of the Superconnected Cities programme.

Leeds and Bradford have seen the UK’s highest take-up rates outside London for the vouchers, which are worth up to £3,000 to each business.

According to SMEs that have signed up for the scheme, each business that has gained access to super-fast internet services expects to create an average of 2.1 new jobs over the following 12 months as a result of faster web infrastructure, with turnover predicted to rise by an average of £148,000.

Superconnected Leeds Bradford programme manager, Mark Durham, said: “We’ve seen group applications leverage some quite hefty buying power. The grants can be combined and we’ve approved a number of group applications, including one where a group of businesses received £66,000 towards an upgrade in their broadband connectivity.”

News that the Superconnected Cities programme has been extended beyond the original cut-off point of March 2015 has been welcomed by council chiefs.

Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for transport and the economy, said: “We are seeing escalating application rates for the vouchers as word spreads about just how transformational the step up to high-speed internet can be for smaller businesses.

“That’s having a knock-on positive economic impact as companies maximise their potential to become more productive and efficient.”

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