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City Deal agreement to boost Leicestershire economy

The Leicester and Leicestershire economy is to receive a £36m funding boost, following the latest agreement in the City Deals initiative.

After 18 months of negotiations, Greg Clark, the minister for cities, is to rubber-stamp the government's agreement with the city and county councils and the Local Enterprise Partnership today.

It is hoped the agreement will help create more than 1,400 new jobs, increase apprenticeship numbers and provide the local authorities with the ability to invest in cutting-edge technology industries.

For instance, the deal will provide a £7.5m package to get Loughborough University's proposed Science and Enterprise Park project, creating 755 jobs, off the ground. Money will also go towards regenerating certain areas of the city, stretching from Watermead Country Park, across Abbey Meadows and Frog Island.

Speaking to the Leicester Mercury, city mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said: “I'm very pleased with the way negotiations have gone. Although it's taken several months, we've got a City Deal that will be right for us. It focuses on skills and training – giving young people jobs and hope for the future – and providing support for new and growing businesses.”

He added that the agreement, by boosting the economy, could unlock more than £130m in public and private sector investment in the area by 2017.

George Cowcher, chief executive of the Chamber of Commerce for Leicestershire, stated that this is an important step in “enabling Leicester to have greater control of its future in terms of driving economic growth and job creation”.

The investment package includes £16m from the government and another £20m which includes European Union and local council funding.

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