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19 February 2013, 16:15
Ipswich and Norwich have both named on a Government list to be given more local power over budgets to support growth.
The 'City Deals' fior 20 areas of the country were announced by the Deputy Prime Minister in a speech at Mansion House in London.
Last summer, eight of England’s largest cities confirmed deals with the Government to boost local growth. Now twenty more cities including Ipswich and Norwich will get the green light to go ahead and negotiate plans to get the freedom, powers and tools needed to shape their economic future.
The deals will be reached between Government and cities so that local areas can bid for new powers that will enable them to grow. In return for cities’ strong plans for growth the government will devolve financial and planning powers to let cities take charge of their own destinies – from autonomy over how to spend their training and skills budgets, to creating local investment funds to build roads and unlock developments.
Mark Bee from Suffolk County Council spoke to Heart about what it will mean for Ipswich
Leader of Norwich City Council Brenda Arthur told Heart what it means for the city:
Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg said:
“Even more places will be free from Whitehall control and have the tools to power their own growth. These deals help cities and their wider areas make once in a generation changes that will be felt by everyone across their region.
“Letting go of power and money doesn’t come naturally to Whitehall. Over time, the economic importance of other parts of the country has been devastatingly downplayed, as the economic elite have narrowed the debate towards a London-centric view.
“Rather than let our industries and communities wither, we need to free up cities outside of London that have their own unique selling points.”
The Ipswich bid wants to use a City Deal to equip local people and businesses with the skills they need to take advantage of significant expansion in high value jobs through development of Sizewell and Felixstowe.
The major part of the Norwich bid includes increasing the size of the Norwich Research Park.
Councillor Brenda Arthur, leader of Norwich City Council says:
“In these difficult economic times, with a tough jobs market, an opportunity like this had to be seized and I cannot stress too much, the hard work and effort that has been put into this bid by officers and members of the local authorities and the enterprise partnership.
“We are confident we can make a real difference to our local economy - bringing the jobs and homes the people in and around Norwich badly need and deserve - by asking the government to give us the tools and resource we need.”
In October 2012, as part of the deal process, twenty cities were invited to submit bids to get a City Deal. Each area worked with local partners and their Local Enterprise Partnership to put forward proposals. Following careful assessment of the bids – which are judged on whether they are ambitious, robust and can attract private sector investment – the government has decided to enter negotiations with every city on a staggered timeline.
What happens next?
The Government will now work closely with cities to develop the proposals in more detail and to negotiate a final deal. We will aim to complete deals with the twenty cities over the next year.
What’s on offer?
Cities will have the chance to negotiate deals that give them the levers and powers they need to drive economic growth in their local areas. It’s an opportunity to try out new and innovative approaches.