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21 July 2016, 18:49
A ground-breaking £1 billion deal with a Chinese construction firm in Sheffield - the biggest outside London - has been announced.
Sheffield City Council has agreed a 60-year partnership with Sichuan Guodong Construction Group in the first deal of its kind with a UK city.
The council said the first tranche of funding associated with this agreement is worth around #220 million and will fund four or five city centre projects over the next three years.
But the exact projects that the investment will fund are yet to be determined, the council said.
Council leader Julie Dore said: "This is the biggest Chinese investment deal to be made by a UK city outside of London. And perhaps more importantly it is first deal of its kind to be made by a UK city. This is a real partnership.
"The projects funded by this investment will be determined by Sheffield City Council, and the 60-year commitment secures a stream of investment into our city for the next generation, and means a whole range of projects become viable because of the long-term nature of the relationship.
"At a time of unprecedented uncertainty and turmoil on the national political scene, we have taken the bull by the horns and led by example here in Sheffield.''
Deputy Leader Leigh Bramall said: "We are clear that this will create hundreds, if not thousands, of additional jobs for the people of Sheffield. The investment comes from China, but the workforce on these projects will be British.
"This agreement is ground-breaking. It will see the resources made available to deliver the vibrant, growing city centre our city needs. This will make Sheffield even more attractive to inward investment, create jobs and enable us to compete with other big cities.''
"It demonstrates our ambition for the city.''
Mr Bramall said the deal between Sheffield City Council and Sichuan Guodong Construction Group has been negotiated over 18 months. It was announced after council leaders returned from Chengdu, which is Sheffield's sister city and is the fifth largest in China.