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MP Mulholland: “£573mn Growth Deal heralds new era for Leeds City Region economy”

July 7, 2014 11:58 AM

MP Mulholland: "£573mn Growth Deal heralds new era for Leeds City Region economy"

The Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership today agreed an historic Growth Deal with the Government which will see £572.8million invested in Leeds City Region. £72.8million has been confirmed in the first year, and as part of the Government's on-going commitment to the Leeds City Region LEP it has provided an indicative award of a further £500million of funding from 2016/17 onwards. The deal will help to create up to 9,000 jobs, allow up to 1,000 houses to be built and generate up to £370 million in public and private investment.

Liberal Democrat MP for Leeds North West, Greg Mulholland, has said the Growth Deal "heralds a new era for the Leeds City Region economy". The key features of the deal are:

  • The West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund - will see decisions on road and rail spending put into the hands of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, which includes local authorities and businesses. This will lead to significant improvements in roads and railways across the region, reducing congestion and travel to work times. The projects supported by the fund could eventually total £1billion and will include rail enhancements, junction improvements, and city centre master planning, all of which will be decided by local people who know what is best for the Leeds City Region.
  • Expanding a skilled workforce - a substantial package of investments in the city region's further education colleges will be overseen by the Local Enterprise Partnership, to ensure the provision of high quality skills and education facilities for all learners.
  • Business grants for growth -grants will be provided for to help small and medium enterprises access the finance that they need to grow.

The Leeds City Region Growth Deal is part of a £12 billion long-term programme to revitalise local economies. The deals are the latest and greatest example of the British economy being rebuilt from the bottom up, and sharing the benefits of the recovery around the country.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "The Leeds City Region Growth Deal will create thousands of jobs, provide incredible new training opportunities for people, improve transport connections within West Yorkshire and to other cities across the north, allow new homes to be built, support fast growing businesses and build a stronger economy and a fairer society.

"We're placing the power and money in the hands of people in the Leeds City Region who know how to spend it best, making a real difference to local communities."

Greg Mulholland, Liberal Democrat MP for Leeds North West added: "Hosting the Tour de France showed the sheer ambition that resides within Leeds. This £573mn investment will unlock that ambition and enable Leeds to become an economic powerhouse.

"With an annual economic output of £55bn, Leeds is already the UK's largest city region outside of London. The 106,000 businesses located here, and the 7mn people who live within an hour's drive of Leeds show the immense potential of the city.

"This substantial investment heralds a new era for the Leeds City Region economy and I look forward to the new jobs, homes, businesses and transport infrastructure that will come out of this investment."

Roger Marsh, the LEP Chair, said: "This is a game-changing moment for the Leeds City Region. We have worked tirelessly with businesses and partners over the past year to showcase our region's immense potential to play a leading role in rebalancing the UK economy.

"The scale of our settlement, combined with the additional freedoms and flexibilities we have secured through this historic Deal, demonstrate the government's faith in this powerhouse economy, as well as in the strength of our partnership, our governance arrangements and our readiness to deliver.

"Have we got everything we asked for? No. Have we got enough to begin realising our ambitions for transformational growth? Absolutely. We have shown we can deliver - now we need to deliver at scale, maximising the full range of funding and investment options and working with government and our partners to implement our Strategic Economic Plan in its entirety."

Cllr Keith Wakefield, Leader of Leeds City Council, said: "This is tremendous news - the news we have been lobbying hard to hear for a very long time. I'm very glad that the government has listened to our exceptionally strong case to put the financial power in our hands to drive our ambitions in a way that could be truly transformational for local growth.

"All this could not and would not be possible without the very strong and powerful support we have received from our public and private sector partners and together we will work to forge a future of real prospects for our people and industries. We aim to unleash the economic potential of the North and in particular in West Yorkshire and the Leeds City Region.

This must be just the start of more powers and resources being localised. With the right infrastructure and investment, along with well-planned, sustainable skills training and job creation to support our push for growth, we can transform our city's and our neighbours' economic potential into an economic powerhouse."