Thursday, 12 December 2013

Signature Visit By Nick Clegg A Good Sign For City Deal

A billion pound deal for Greater Cambridge has taken a step closer as Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg signed his name to an agreement to help bring the scheme forward.

The Deal aims to unlock a billion pounds of additional funding for investment in transport infrastructure and homes to support high quality economic and housing growth over the coming decades.

The Minister was visiting Cambridge to meet partners who put together the City Deal and sign with them a Memorandum of Understanding. This is the first formal step in delivering the deal which would mean a portion of the tax generated in the area from growth would be kept locally – known as gain share.

The Memorandum shows that Government have signed up with local partners to deliver this groundbreaking deal.

The signing follows the announcement in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement which committed the Government to deliver the gain share proposals for the Greater Cambridge City Deal.

A £6 million grant was also announced today as part of the Deal for the new Cambridge Science Park Station.

As part of the City deal there will also be a revised package of funding to support the delivery of affordable housing. This will also be along with new measures to allow skills funding to be used in different ways which will target training more at the particular needs of local employers.

In addition to funding for transport and affordable housing, the Deal would see the three councils (County, Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire District Councils) pooling some of their funding and powers, and working even more closely than now in a form of "combined authority". This requires Government to change current legislation, but would allow for the creation of a single strategic vision for the future of the area covered by Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire.

The city deal has been negotiated by a partnership of Cambridge City Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, The University of Cambridge and the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership.

Partners were invited to negotiate a city deal in Autumn 2012, following the announcement earlier that year of deals with the six largest cities in England.

Councillor Ray Manning, Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: "It is excellent news that pen is going to paper on this memorandum which moves us closer to unlocking a City Deal which will have benefits to the whole of Cambridge, South Cambridgeshire villages and beyond. Retaining taxes generated in the local area gives us the opportunity to invest in the infrastructure needed here which will boost the local economy, make sure businesses can continue to prosper and allow much-needed and affordable housing to be delivered."

Councillor Tim Bick, Leader of Cambridge City Council, said: "It is very encouraging that government has recognised the special contribution Greater Cambridge does and can make to the UK economy. We have been proven right to be bold with our proposals. This gainshare arrangement is almost unprecedented and will help us to improve our frail infrastructure, both enabling homes and jobs, and ensuring it is 'good growth' which respects the area's unique character."

Cambridgeshire County Council Leader Martin Curtis, said: “This is good news not only for Greater Cambridge but the whole of the County. The ripple effect of this deal means that the whole of Cambridgeshire will benefit. This is truly a partnership arrangement and it was good to see the Government, in the form of the Deputy Prime Minister put their name to it. We also welcome the £6 million investment for the new station at the Cambridge Science Park.”

Grahame Nix, Chief Executive of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “We are keen to agree the right deal with Government that will undoubtedly bring tremendous benefits for local residents and businesses, both now and in the future. We would be able to provide more sustainable and reliable transport between homes and jobs, and between the technology clusters themselves, to continue the growth of the Cambridge Phenomenon into the future.”

Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, said: “The University looks forward to working with our partners in the City Deal to transform our ability to innovate and sustain economic growth while protecting the features that make Greater Cambridge such an attractive place to work, study and live.”