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First wave of £12bn government Growth Deals announced

The government has laid out its plans in a series of ‘Growth Deals’ to invest £12bn in local economies providing funds to support training, jobs, housing development, superfast broadband networks and infrastructure projects. 

In the first wave of projects, the Cabinet Office has agreed to invest £6bn in local projects which will be spearheaded by local authorities and businesses. This includes the allocation of £2bn from the Local Growth Fund for 2015 to 2016. 

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, who chairs the Local Growth Cabinet Committee and has been leading the project, said: “We are ending a culture of Whitehall knows best. Decisions over spending on infrastructure, business support and housing are being made at a truly local level. It will help end our over-reliance on the banks and the City of London, and generate growth, jobs, and ambition in towns and cities all across England. 

“Growth Deals will create thousands of jobs, provide incredible new training opportunities for young people, build thousands of new homes and improve transport links across the country for people and their families; building a stronger economy and a fairer society.” 

Projects beginning in 2015 to 2016 are expected to be matched by local investments worth around twice the contribution from central government. Across the country they are expected to lead to work on more than 150 roads, 150 housing developments and 20 stations. 

Some of the 39 agreed Growth Deals with the largest funding allocation include Greater Manchester which will receive £170m; London with £151m and the North East with £112m. 

As part of the Greater Manchester deal approximately £18m will be invested to revamp the Metrolink transport system, this will include 12 new trams, revamped stations and improved bus services. 

Additionally, millions of pounds will be set aside for projects around the country to boost the skills that local businesses say they need, including £55m for London’s Skills Capital programme; a Glass Academy in Sheffield to train people to work in the city’s glassworks; and an Oil and Gas Academy in the Tees Valley. 

To view the full list of initial Growth Deals and their funding allocation, click here. To view the individual Growth Deals, click here

Greg Clark, minister for cities, said: “For Britain to prosper every part of the country needs to fulfil its potential. No two places are the same and the people who live, work and do business in each place know best what their area needs to do well. Today is the day when we back local leaders to create jobs and prosperity in their area.” 

Following the latest announcement, government discussions with Local Enterprise Partnerships will begin immediately over the unallocated Growth Deal funding (minimum of £6bn of the £10bn) available for the future. 

The Deals are the latest part of the government’s long-term plan to boost growth around the country, following among other projects, the multi-billion pound Regional Growth Fund and the City Deals signed with 26 urban areas across the country. 

Katja Hall, CBI deputy director-general, stated that businesses and local authorities have been working hard to develop their plans for growth and it’s great to see that hard work starting to bear fruit in this announcement. 

“Giving funding to the people best placed to invest it will help unlock the potential of our towns and cities – but this cannot be a one-off,” she said. “Growing our local economies requires bold thinking, big ideas and a commitment to stay the course.  We need to stick with what’s working and see all political parties supporting these projects.” 

But shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna MP stated that the government’s announcement today falls far short of Labour’s plans, with only a small fraction of the £30bn being devolved, no decentralisation of powers over skills, infrastructure and employment and no proposals for City Regions to benefit from increased business rates revenue. 

He added: “The Tory-led government came into office promising to rebalance the economy and spur regional growth, but instead we’ve seen things go into reverse as regions and local areas have been held back. We need to see growth built on the talents of all and producing better-paid, high-skilled jobs in all parts of the country.” 

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