Staffordshire County and Stoke-on-Trent City Councils are to jointly bid for greater power and finance from Government to drive economic growth and create thousands of new jobs.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills today (Monday 29 October) invited expressions of interest for a second
wave of ‘City Deals.’ It follows agreement in the summer to give the eight largest cities outside London greater
freedom and funding for new roads, rail, broadband and other schemes to grow their economies and create jobs
Philip Atkins, Leader of Staffordshire County Council, and Mohammed Pervez, Leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council confirmed that they will be working together on a united bid for the area.
With a focus on exploiting radical new energy sources and providing sites to attract new business, they aim to increase the area’s gross domestic product by 50% over ten years, creating 50,000 jobs
The two councils will support the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), working with over 40 public and private sector partners, to help make Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire an even better place to do business.
Joint working over a number of years has led to the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP area being recognised as one of the top three areas nationally for attracting inward investment. In addition to the proposed deal, the councils continue working together and talking to Government about a range of other opportunities for improving the local economy.
Philip Atkins said:
“Securing a Deal would build on the success we have delivered in attracting Jaguar Land Rover to Staffordshire by reducing the costs of doing business across the county and making sites ready to build new businesses.
“We will work on this project for the population of the County and Stoke-on-Trent in its entirety, taking advantage of our prime location in the heart of England, with excellent road and rail links. We will need to use the skills of more than 40 private and public sector partners who have already committed support for our approach.”
Mohammed Pervez said:
“We have recognised that the successful regeneration of Stoke-on-Trent is critical to the whole County’s success and that a joint approach to inward investment can lever in additional jobs for all of our communities County-wide.
“The proposals will develop world class research facilities and new green energy sources to offer affordable energy to businesses and help renew Stoke on Trent, including building new homes.”
Ron Dougan, Chair of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said:
“Businesses have already been working with local authorities across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire to champion our area as a great place to do business and promote initiatives that will deliver substantial growth and new jobs.
“Examples include investment in a number of key development sites and our support of many successful Regional Growth Fund bids. The deal presents us with the opportunity to step up these successful partnership efforts.”
Today’s Government announcement begins a lengthy submission process. The Councils will submit an expression of interest by the end of November.