YORKSHIRE has been promised more than £100 million of Government cash to back projects which grow the region’s economy and create jobs.
Reviving Hull’s Old Town in readiness for its year as UK City of Culture, improved public transport in Sheffield, making sites available for homes and businesses in West Yorkshire and flood defences in Skipton are among the swathe of projects across the region which will benefit from the new investment.
Announcing the money, David Cameron 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.”
The £107 million given to Yorkshire today comes from the latest round of the Government’s Local Growth Fund set up to support economic plans drawn up at a local level.
Yorkshire’s local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) - which bring together councils and business to grow their local economy - submitted bids for the cash before Christmas.
The Fund is designed to allow local areas to take the lead in deciding the best ways Government money should be spent on economic development.
In parallel, the Government has struck broader ‘devolution deals’ to hand powers to Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire with discussions continuing with West Yorkshire.
West Yorkshire Combined Authority chairman Peter Box said: “With this additional investment we will be able to build upon work already underway and create more jobs and economic opportunities for local people and businesses – including building more good quality, affordable homes to meet current and future demand, helping reduce energy bills for local people and small businesses, and investing in world-class college facilities to help our young people to develop the skills they need to thrive in a fast-paced labour market.
“We are clear though, in our ongoing dialogue with government, that this must be a staging post in our journey towards full devolution and giving our city region all of the tools it needs to unleash its enormous economic potential.”
The £54.7 million awarded to West Yorkshire is believed to be one of the biggest of today’s awards in the country. Among other schemes it will support new centres at Huddersfield and Leeds Universities to help hi-tech firms.
In South Yorkshire, the Local Growth Fund money will help pay for schemes including the proposed Rail Engineering Campus in Doncaster and improvements to Supertram.
Improving roads and bridges to open up land for new businesses and redevelopment schemes in Cleethorpes will be among the priorities for the money on the Humber.
Money will also be spent on the A1079 between Hull and York and junction 47 of the A1 near Harrogate.