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County growth plans accelerating faster than cities – CCN

Counties’ growth plans are accelerating faster than their city counterparts, despite the authorities receiving a third less funding per capita in the government’s latest £1bn funding round for local growth deals, according to the County Councils Network (CCN). 

Following the expanded Growth Deals announcement last week, the CCN said that LEPs in county areas will create 297,300 jobs compared to 101,000 in the core cities by 2021 – meaning county LEPs will create eight jobs per thousand resident compared to four in the core cities. 

Greg Clark, minister for Cities, said: “For Britain to fulfill its potential every part of the country must be an engine of growth. Our successful programme of City Deals and Growth Deals has put power and resources into the hands of local leaders. 

“This billion-pound expansion of Growth Deals fuels the momentum that is now underway in our local economies.” 

Analysis has also revealed that per capita support (median average) in counties was only £121.94, compared to £182.08 in England’s eight core cities of Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield. 

But CCN claims that counties, despite exercising fewer powers than their urban counterparts, will build 168,450 homes compared to 43,000 in the core cities up to 2021. 

The latest estimates come after a recent Defra report stated that productivity in rural areas could grow faster than in cities, but county areas need greater connectivity, improved infrastructure and integrated economic plans to realise their potential. 

Cllr David Hodge, chairman of CCN, said: “Though these Growth Deals demonstrate the scope of our ambitions and the exceptional return on investment county areas provide, we cannot forget that the counties currently do not have access to the same powers and freedoms as cities do to drive economic growth. 

“With a full tool-kit we can do more for our communities and UK Plc.” 

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