The leader of Leeds City Council hailed today’s government announcement of a City Deal transferring powers and spending to the City Region as a “hugely significant step” which marks the beginning of a new era for the north of England.
The deal, announced by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg today, features a number of initiatives to support growth, including:
• the creation of the country’s first apprenticeship academy in Leeds for 14-24 year olds
• a £1bn local fund for investment in public transport and highways and
• a further £400m fund to modernise infrastructure across the region.
The deal will allow the 11 local authorities that make up the City Region to have a much bigger say in decisions on investment and skills. They will be able to take decisions more quickly in line with local priorities and coordinate funds directly. The deal will also help businesses grow their export markets.
Taken together, the measures are expected to create thousands of jobs and business opportunities across the city with the potential for an additional 15,000 apprenticeships by 2016.
Cllr Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council, said:
“ Today’s announcement is hugely significant for Leeds, for the eleven local authorities that make up the City Region and for the north as a whole.
“ This deal spells the beginning of a fundamental shift in the relationship between Whitehall and the regions. It marks the first steps of a new era which will allow the north to truly control its own destiny.
“For a long time we have suffered from under investment and over-centralised decision-making.
“This deal will allow us to create thousand of new apprenticeships, offering a much needed boost to the local economy in a very difficult time and providing young people with the skills and training they need to survive in the workplace.
“It also gives us the opportunity and the means to transform our transport system so that travel to other city regions becomes easier and faster. A better transport system will mean high productivity, lower costs and more jobs. It will also enable us to create a single economy across the Pennines.
“ I’m looking forward to working with the other local authorities in the city region to attract investment, exploit exports and create a thriving economy which will bring real benefits and exciting opportunities to the people of Leeds and to local businesses. “
Peter Roberts, chief executive of Leeds City College said:
“The City Deal will enable us to transform the skills and training opportunities available to young people in the Leeds City Region.
Apprenticeships have been one of the city’s great success stories in recent years.
The creation of an specialist academy – the first of its kind in the country -along with training agencies and the apprenticeship hub mean we can build on that success to create a more skilled workforce geared to the needs of the local economy and more job opportunities for young people.”
Lurene Joseph, chief executive of Marketing Leeds, said: “This deal is tremendous news. It will help put Leeds on the map internationally and will make a huge difference to the city’s attractiveness as a location for business and investment.
“New decision making powers and control of major funding streams will allow Leeds and the wider city region to develop the twenty-first century infrastructure and skilled workforce that all great cities need to compete in today’s global economy.”
Notes to editors:
The Leeds City Region Deal
In December 2011, the government announced that cities are ‘the economic powerhouses of our country’ and will play a crucial role in the economic recovery. As such, the government announced that it would like to negotiate a menu of powers with the cities, that will form the basis of a series of bespoke ‘City Deals’.
The first wave of deals are with the eight largest cities and their wider city region areas. The city deal provides a transfer of powers and funding from national to local government. It gives local government greater control over spending and decision making so that we can take decisions in line with our key priorities for growth in the city region.
The city deal will help to:
- Create thousands of new apprenticeships, jobs and opportunities for the young.
- Ensure faster, reliable transport connections.
- Increase investment to modernise our infrastructure.
- Boost exports and attract more international companies to the city region.
The areas which we have focussed on in this first city deal are skills, transport, investment funds, trade and inward investment as well as new robust governance arrangements to help with the efficient delivery of our objectives.
For further information please download the Leeds City Region Deal Brief here: http://www.leedscityregion.gov.uk/citydeal.htm
For media enquiries, please contact;
Annie Goodyear, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3937