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11 March 2014, 09:37 | Updated: 11 March 2014, 09:39
Up to 555 new jobs could be created or protected in Southend after confirmation that a new multi-million pound partnership has been agreed.
The Southend-on-Sea City Deal, agreed between the Government, local authorities and the Local Enterprise Partnership, will also provide support to 1,350 small and medium sized businesses across South Essex.
The deal sets out £6 million worth of public and private investment aimed at redeveloping deprived parts of Southend and create a business hub for entrepreneurship and innovation.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: ``We're giving Southend-on-Sea the freedom, power and tools to be really innovative and design whole new ways of building a stronger local economy and fairer society. This City Deal puts power in the hands of local people who know best what skills are needed in the area to give it a real chance of changing the fortunes of thousands of people across Essex.
Ahead of his visit to Southend to sign the deal, Minister for Cities Greg Clark, said: ``Southend has the potential to be a driving force for growth in the South East. It is a great place for businesses to locate, expand or start-up. To help achieve that potential, local business and civic leaders told us they wanted to give much better support to small and medium-sized businesses. I am delighted to be able to say 'yes' to that proposal which is a big boost for the economy of Southend.''
Mr Clark said via a written ministerial statement that as a result of the deal, there will be a £1.3 million redevelopment of Central Library in Victoria Avenue.
He added: ``Business and civic leaders in Southend-on-Sea anticipate that the Deal will create or safeguard more than 555 jobs over the next three years and provide support to 1,350 businesses across South Essex.''