£7.2M expansion of growth deal boosts local plan for Worcestershire economy

The Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership has agreed an expansion to its Growth Deal with the Government which will see an extra £7.2m invested in the Worcestershire LEP’s between 2016 and 2021.

This is in addition to the £47m of funding committed by the Government on 7 July 2014. Over the lifetime of its Deal (2015-2021) the Local Enterprise Partnership estimates that up to 4000 new jobs could be created, 1200 new homes built and that it has the potential to generate £100m public and private investment.

The additional proposed projects include:

  • Enabling critical local infrastructure development unlocking sites for employment and housing land through a flexible package of interventions including investment for 20 acres of employment provision at Evesham Vale Park.
  • Supporting business development, expansion and entrepreneurship through targeted grants.
  • Delivering opportunities for new skills provision by funding new facilities for local FE colleges and training providers, with a strong emphasis on engineering and associated skills leading to 600 more apprenticeships and 3000 higher level skills qualifications by 2020.

In addition, The Government has recognised the need for capacity improvements to the A4440 south of Worcester and on the A38 around Bromsgrove to help support growth. As part of Growth Deals announced in July 2014, the Government committed £12m to support the next phase of A4440 capacity improvements, which are due to take until 2018 to be constructed. The Government will work with Worcestershire County Council as the local highways authority to determine how further stages of the A4440 and improvements to the A38 can be taken forward.

The Worcestershire Growth Deal is part of a long term plan to devolve at least £12 billion from central government to local economies. The plan aims for every part of the country to be a motor of growth for the national economy – building on the strength of the Worcestershire area.

The Prime Minister said: “Giving local communities the power and the money to unlock growth and development and make the spending decisions that work for them is a key part of our long-term economic plan to secure a brighter future for Britain and ensure a recovery for all.

“And this is happening right here in Worcestershire, with more money announced today for key projects to boost the local economy as part of the multi-million pound expansion of the Government’s Growth Deals.

“And because the money will be in the control of a partnership of local community, business and civic leaders it means it will go on the things that really matter to people and businesses here.”

“That is what Growth Deals are all about, backing local people and investing in the infrastructure, housing and skills that will drive forward local economies, create more jobs and opportunities for hardworking people and supercharge all parts of our country.”

The Deputy Prime Minister said: “A quiet revolution is underway in Worcestershire and across the country, as Growth Deals signal the death of the culture where Whitehall calls the shots. I’ve seen for myself the difference it makes to give Worcestershire more power over skills, over business support, over infrastructure spending.

“I am delighted to announce the expansion of the Worcestershire Growth Deal today.

“The Coalition Government has been relentless in our efforts to sort out the public finances and set firm foundations for growth. Growth Deals help create a stronger economy and a fairer society by boosting local economies, and providing more jobs, better transport and affordable homes.”

The Worcestershire LEP Chair Peter Pawsey said: “The fact that Worcestershire is receiving an additional £7.2m to the original Growth Deal allocation of £47m is great news for the County. The funding announced today will promote business growth, create and safeguard an estimated 400-500 jobs, leverage £15-£25m from the public and private sectors as well as further improve skills by 2020.

The Worcestershire LEP is currently focusing on delivering the schemes which were funded in the first part of the Growth Deal, with significant progress already having been made, and these schemes will be added to that programme. We are also working with Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership on how the money allocated within the Growth Deal for North Worcestershire can be used to the best effect.”

Councillor Simon Geraghty, Deputy Leader of Worcestershire County Council and LEP Board Member, said: “The schemes which have been awarded funding today are outlined in the County’s 10 year Strategic Economic Plan and so will benefit Worcestershire’s economy for years to come.

The business growth grants build on successes we have seen through schemes such as the Worcestershire Expansion Programme and the skills capital fund will bring significant improvements to educational buildings and facilities. The funding will also further open up commercial developments by improving infrastructure with a particular focus on sites such as Vale Park, Evesham. This is great news for the whole of Worcestershire.”

Further information is available here.