£6 Billion Government Funding for Regions Across England
In a bid to boost local economies and to rebalance the country’s “London-focused” economy, the government is allocating billions of pounds worth of funding to regions across England.
The funding is part of a series of what the government is calling “Growth Deals”, with two installments of £6 billion going towards support for local businesses, building new homes, infrastructure improvements (including transportation like roads and railways) and creating more jobs. However, where the money is spent will be largely up to local businesses and authorities.
The scheme will kick in after the next general election, covering five years from 2015 or 2016, and is adding to £1.1 billion that has already been allocated to local projects in the first year of the next parliament.
Prime Minister David Cameron explained that Growth Deals will help to boost the towns, cities and counties of England so they can demonstrate their own power, away from London, which currently seems to be centralising the country’s economy around the capital. “By trusting local people, backing business and investing in infrastructure, skills and housing, we can create thousands of new jobs,” he added.
The government has estimated that the investment, which is from the £2 billion-per-year local growth fund, will lead to 150 new housing developments, work on more than 150 roads and around 20 train stations.
Here’s a breakdown on how the money will be allocated:
The Southwest will benefit from investment in skills, as well as rail and road links to Hinkley Point for the new nuclear power station. A road tunnel between Swindon and Wichelstowe will also receive some of the funding, opening up a site for thousands of new homes. Bristol will be getting a new robotics institute.
£55 million will be going towards London’s skills capital programme. Sheffield will be given a glass academy, and Tees Valley will be the recipient of an oil and gas academy, leading to further support in those industries. An advanced transport engineering training facility at Leicestershire and Warwickshire’s MIRA technology park will also be funded.
Solihull and Greater Birmingham will be receiving £357 million to improve connections between the HS2 high-speed rail link and the new Curzon Street station, as well as extending the Midland Metro and bus rapid transit scheme.
£442 million will be going to the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, including investments in roads and railways to open up new sites for homes and jobs in Folkestone, Hastings and Purfleet.
The £477 million for Greater Manchester will include £18 million to improve the city’s Metrolink system, such as revamped stations and new trams. There will also be an investment fund for life sciences in northwest England, improving the research and development headquarters at Alderley Park.
Leeds’ £573 million is the largest allocation out of all of the regions, and will be going towards improving the city’s transport, adding to a commitment of £420 million over a two-decade period that will ultimately lead to a £1 billion transport plan. York will also get a National Agri-Food Campus – agriculture and food – that could create employment for up to 800 people.
“We are ending the culture of ‘Whitehall knows best’,” said Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who also chairs the local growth cabinet committee. “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.”