Norwich invited to bid for government deal which could bring city massive economic boost

A 'fantastic opportunity' to seize extra powers and millions of pounds of funding has been handed to council leaders in Norwich.

As part of a 'city deals' scheme introduced by the government, ministers have promised to hand councils new powers, if local authorities can prove that using them will help regenerate their economy.

Eight of England's largest cities have already agreed deals granting them new powers and access to millions of pounds of funding.

But, with 20 more deals up for grabs in a second wave, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and cities minister Greg Clark today invited the greater Norwich area to get in on the act.

Mr Clegg said: 'I want Greater Norwich to come up with ambitious and innovative proposals to help them make changes that will be felt by everyone across their region.

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'In the best English tradition we have witnessed a quiet revolution across the nation's eight largest cities.

'From control over buses and trains and the freedom to plug skills gaps, to powers to 'earn back' tax and set up local investment funds to spend on local projects – the deals are unlocking the huge potential of our cities so they can go for growth.

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Describing it as 'a fantastic opportunity', Brenda Arthur, leader of Norwich City Council said: 'We are delighted that the potential of greater Norwich has been recognised as a possible focus for a city deal.

'This fits exactly with the economic ambition of all the local enterprise partnerships and local authorities who work closely together to create jobs and homes for the benefit of our residents.'

The council, with support from the Greater Norwich Development Partnership, which also includes Broadland, South Norfolk and Norfolk County councils, is working on proposals, which must be submitted by the middle of January.

The government has said there will be an 'element of competition' and not all cities invited to take part should expect to be awarded a deal.

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