Minister hails the Humber as it awaits decision over ‘city deal’

BUSINESS Minister Michael Fallon has said the Humber is ready to take responsibility for decisions in key economic areas as it waits to find out whether it can secure one of the Government’s ‘city deals’.

The Government is expected to announce shortly which parts of the UK will be next to agree city deals, which see powers and funding in areas such as transport and skills transferred from Whitehall to the control of councils and local enterprise partnerships (LEPs).

Speaking during a visit to the region, Mr Fallon said: “There are 39 LEPs that I deal with and take responsibility for and the Humber LEP is well up that league table in terms of preparedness and readiness to take responsibility and shape its future.”

Mr Fallon was speaking at the launch of a new £30m fund from the Humber LEP to support business, including £10m to help develop supply chain businesses for the renewable energy industry.

Mr Fallon said: “There is a real focus here on unlocking the growth potential as the United Kingdom’s energy estuary and that includes a once-in-a-generation opportunity to develop a new offshore renewable energy industry right across the Humber and we want to support the Humber to deliver on your ambitions.”

The Humber LEP is already working with former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine who last year published a report setting out how devolving large swathes of Government funding to local areas could help the economy grow.

Humber LEP chairman Lord Haskins said: “Successive governments have been talking about localism in this country for the last 50 years with very, very limited success, indeed the trend has been going the other way.

“Is this the moment that trend changes? If it is, then we in the Humber will play a part in determining down which route that will go.”

During his spell in the region yesterday Mr Fallon also spoke at a business event in Sheffield and visited Scunthorpe manufacturer Moulded Fibre Products.