The Government has announced the first stage of a £12 billion funding scheme, designed to create new jobs, build new homes, train young people, support local businesses and kick-start infrastructure projects throughout England.
Around £6 billion is being made available as part of a series of ‘Growth Deals’ for the 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) across the country.
The Government is enthused about the scheme, insisting it is a “revolution in the way our economy is run”.
The deals, allocated after LEPs bid for the money, include £2 billion specifically for products planned to launch in 2015/16.
Among the deals are bids to upskill local businesses, such as the £55m London Skills Capital programme; a Glass Academy in Sheffield to train local people to work in the city’s glassworks and an Oil and Gas Academy in the Tees Valley.
Prime Minister, David Cameron, hopes the Growth Deals will spread economic growth beyond the capital.
“Growth Deals are a crucial part of our long-term plan to secure Britain’s future,” said Mr Cameron.
“For too long our economy has been too London-focused and too centralised. Growth Deals will help change all that. They are about firing up our great cities, towns and counties so they can become powerhouses.
“By trusting local people, backing business and investing in infrastructure, skills and housing, we can create thousands of new jobs. And that means more economic security, peace of mind and a brighter future for hardworking people across the country.”
Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, concurs that this is the next big step towards creating a fairer society and a stronger economy.
“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,” said Mr Clegg.
“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.”
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