Nick Clegg to sign off deal it is claimed could create 19,000 jobs in and around Norwich
- Credit: PA
Nick Clegg has hailed a deal which he claims could pave the way for 19,000 new jobs by 2026 in Norwich by giving more local power to the city to 'make its own luck'.
The deputy prime minister, (pictured bottom right), will visit Norwich today to sign a so-called 'City Deal' with local authorities and the local enterprise partnership, which will allow the region access to £80m of cheap loans for developers to kick-start key infrastructure projects, provide support and loans for existing and new businesses and money to improve skills.
He challenged local decision- makers, saying: 'At the heart of this deal is a great big transfer of power and resources in the Greater Norwich Area and away from Whitehall and it is really up to the LEP, the universities, the employers, the NRP to make use of these new freedoms, and if they fail to do so, the buck stops with them.'
Mr Clegg said the architects of the deal – the New Anglia local enterprise partnership and local authorities – claim it will create 19,000 jobs and unlock millions of pounds of private investment in the area.
He admitted that 'everything depends on getting the delivery', but added: 'I am very confident, having spent months poring over the details, that the proposals put to us by folk in the Norwich area are a really fresh, exciting, optimistic approach to the local economy's future. It is not simply asking for handouts from Whitehall. It is actually investing in the brain power of the area, mobilising the intellectual muscle of the area and building on the research park.'
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Andy Wood, chairman of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, which helped draw up the deal, said: 'We are delighted to have played our part in securing this deal for Norwich. The deal is a huge step in realising our ambition of creating thousands of new hi-tech jobs in Greater Norwich from new and existing enterprises.
'It will also enable the delivery of the supporting infrastructure and skilled local workforce that a modern economy needs to succeed.'
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A Greater Norwich Growth Board has been proposed to oversee the delivery of the City Deal and the area's wider programme for growth.
Brenda Arthur, leader of Norwich City Council and chairman of the Greater Norwich Development Partnership, said: 'Greater Norwich has all the ingredients it needs to make a major contribution to the UK's growth over the coming years.
'I am so proud that the partners' successful collaboration in securing this City Deal will help the area fulfil its potential and pave the way for a bright and prosperous future. We are now committed to delivering these plans for the benefit of the area, its residents and businesses.'
Broadland District Council, South Norfolk Council and Norfolk County Council have all been involved in the deal.