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£55.1 million cash boost for the Black Country to help create local jobs and growth

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid today announced a government cash boost of £55.1 million for the Black Country to help create jobs, support businesses and encourage growth.

Some of the locally-chosen programmes likely to benefit over the next few years include:

  • The Black Country Garden City which will use brownfield land to deliver a 21st century garden city in an urban setting;
  • High Value Manufacturing City, an innovative programme which will accelerate the growth of leading design, manufacturing and engineering businesses in the Black Country; and
  • The Connecting Our Region programme, which will tackle congestion and improve access to motorways.

These, alongside other projects, will improve skills, create jobs, build homes and improve infrastructure.

This latest award of Local Growth funding is on top of £162.7 million of Growth Deal funding already awarded to the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership. This will see jobs created, homes built and extra investment.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said: “This Government is backing the Black Country with this new £55.1 million funding pot. Exciting projects to benefit include a new Garden City and investment in skills to match the needs of local employers.

“This new money will help create jobs, boost skills and give businesses support.

“Local people will also have the chance to have their say and vote on 4 May for their new mayor.”

Stewart Towe, Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership Chair, said: “The Local Growth Fund is already helping the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership to invest in, and change the landscape of, the whole Black Country. New build specialist training facilities to support hands on skills development, new homes for our residents and investment in infrastructure will connect all these fantastic people and places.

“This new investment will enable us to quicken the pace of delivery alongside our private and public sector partners in order that we deliver our ambitious plans for homes, our travel network and investing in programmes designed to ensure the Black Country is globally recognised as the area that is setting the pace in design and manufacture of high value products. Through local growth funding we are securing a strong economic future for the Black Country.”

Councillor Sean Coughlan, Leader of Walsall Council and Portfolio Lead for Housing and Land in the West Midlands Combined Authority, said: “We’ve already made fantastic progress and this new investment will support our local and regional partners to drive business growth, support skills development, test new innovations, invest in transport infrastructure and regenerate key sites for housing and employment in the Black Country.

“Through devolving resources to the Black Country, government paves the way for us to do even more to benefit the lives of local people across all four boroughs of the Black Country.”

Creating an economy that works for everyone

An ambitious strategy to help the Midlands reach its full economic potential has been published today as the Chancellor Philip Hammond visited the region the day after delivering his first Budget.

The Midlands Engine Strategy includes significant investment in skills, connectivity and local growth, while it sets out how the government plans to drive the region’s huge potential and promote it to the world.

Alongside our historic devolution deals – one of which will mean the West Midlands Combined Authority benefits from an extra £1 billion investment over 30 years, a new mayor and a range of new powers - the £12 billion Local Growth Fund equips local leaders with the cash they need to invest in and support locally determined projects.

Under the fund, England’s 38 Local Enterprise Partnerships – made up of council leaders and business representatives – bid for investments based on local priorities.

Bids are highly competitive and to be successful, Local Enterprise Partnerships need to work with partners to agree strong and accountable governance and put forward proposals that boost growth and bring in private sector funding.

Over £9 billion of the Local Growth Fund has now been awarded to Local Enterprise Partnerships through three rounds of Growth Deals, helping more than 1,000 projects get started across England already – this is supporting vital infrastructure, improving skills and creating thousands of jobs. Together with money for unlocking housing sites to support home building and investment in very large transport schemes – both announced in 2016 – we have fulfilled our commitment to a £12 billion Local Growth Fund.

In the Black Country this has already:

  • Supported an £87 million Housing Regeneration programme at Goscote Lane Corridor with £8.8 million of Growth Deal investment. The development will see 740 new energy-efficient homes created along with improved infrastructure;
  • Enabled delivery, through £1 million of Growth Deal funding, of a £3.7 million skills capital development at Halesowen College. The new Advanced Science, Engineering and Technology Centre will meet identified skills gaps and has the backing of major local businesses. The focus is on advanced and higher apprenticeships in digital media, science, engineering, IT and business; and
  • Made a £13.5 million investment to support a £120 million transformational connectivity programme at Wolverhampton Interchange, including a new mainline railway station at the heart of the UK’s high speed rail network, with an extended 800 space multi-storey car park, serving over 4.75 million passengers per year. Proposals from Transport for the West Midlands are also progressing in parallel, with plans to extend the Metro route, linking the existing network to the bus and railway stations.

The Midlands Engine is the ambitious long-term economic plan to achieve greater economic growth and productivity across the whole Midlands. Our plans for the Midlands Engine demonstrate that when we say we’ll build an economy that works for everyone, we mean it.

The Government is supporting improvements in infrastructure, skills, business, environment and innovation in the Midlands. The Government is also increasing trade and investment by promoting the Midlands nationally and internationally.

Across the Midlands local people are set to benefit from £392 million investment, with the Black Country receiving £55.1 million to spend on programmes that are expected to deliver:

  • The Black Country Garden City project, resulting in use of brownfield land for the creation of sustainable communities. Working with public and private sector partners, the Local Enterprise Partnership will deliver a 21st century Black Country interpretation of a garden city in an urban setting;
  • The High Value Manufacturing City, which is an innovative platform designed to accelerate the growth of leading design, manufacturing and engineering businesses in the Black Country;
  • Skills capital investment that will deliver further improvements to meet the skills needs of Black Country businesses; and
  • The Connecting Our Region programme of transport interventions which will tackle congestion, improve access to the motorway network, develop sustainable choices of transport and provide access to key employment sites.

Main image caption: Goscote Lane Corridor, Waters Keep, Walsall.

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