Government agrees to series of ‘Growth Deals’ with businesses and local authorities across England.
Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg have announced the first instalment of plans to invest at least £12 billion in local economies in a series of so-called ‘Growth Deals’.
The money will go towards providing support for local businesses to train young people, create thousands of new jobs, build thousands of new homes and start hundreds of infrastructure projects, including transport improvements and superfast broadband networks.
The first £6 billion of local projects has been agreed as the first wave of Growth Deals are being announced. This includes the complete allocation of £2 billion from the Local Growth Fund for 2015 to 2016, and as the government states that because the quality of the proposals was ‘so high’, in some cases commitments are being given for following years for important long term projects so they can get underway.
In addition, discussions with local enterprise partnerships will continue, to prepare for future negotiations on the next round of Growth Deals to build on the momentum now established.
Growth Deals are being promoted as a ‘revolution’ in the way the economy is run. The government argues that the first time, housing, infrastructure and other funding is being brought together in a ‘single pot’, and put directly into the hands of local authorities and businesses to spend the way they know best.
Projects beginning in 2015 to 2016 are expected to be matched by local investments worth around twice the contribution from central government. Small business support services will include:
- Providing small business support services in every part of England and significant investment in skills training.
- Working to improve educational attainment.
- Getting more people from welfare to work.
“Growth Deals are a crucial part of our long term plan to secure Britain’s future,” stated 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.”
For its part, the Labour Party has stated that it was a case of catch up by the government with accusations of the scheme being “too little, too late”, although it accepts the notion of shifting more power to local authorities and areas.
David Cameron believes that Growth Deals “are a crucial part of our long term plan to secure Britain’s future”.