Greg Clark, Minister for Universities, Science and Cities, today (8th October) joined up with councils and businesses from across the South West to sign the £270.3 million Heart of the South West Growth Deal. The deal secures £130.3m of government funding, as well as a further £140m of additional investment from local partners and the private sector.
The official signing ceremony took place at the Exeter Science Park.
Greg Clark said: “The Growth Deal we are signing today presents huge opportunities for the South West, creating thousands of jobs, building much needed homes, and improving local road and rail links. It demonstrates how the strengths of an area can be harnessed by freeing local councils and businesses from the controlling hand of Whitehall.
“By investing in infrastructure, skills and a new business growth hub this deal will ensure that local area has tools it needs to grow, and provide a brighter future for the people of the South West.”
Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, Steve Hindley said: “The Growth Deal will be a catalyst for economic prosperity and will help the Local Enterprise Partnership deliver new jobs, homes and improved transport and connectivity to benefit local people and businesses.
“I look forward to welcoming MP Greg Clarke to our unique area, and showcasing the commitment, ambition and potential for growth that we have here in the Heart of the South West.”
The Heart of the South West Growth Deal, which was announced in July, help to create up to 13,000 jobs, allow up to 8,000 homes to be built and generate up to £140 million in public and private investment. Headline projects in the deal include:
- Projects supporting Hinkley Point C nuclear power station – this major development presents enormous opportunities to local people who can train to work there, and to companies in the supply chain.
- Projects to maximise employment, productivity and innovation – the development of the Growth Hub, a source of specialist advice on all aspects of business development and a route to finding business investment and reaching new markets.
- The deal will create new ‘Mobile 4G Connectivity’, a scheme to improve access to mobile internet in parts of the South West which currently have poor coverage.
- Investment in skills and science parks in places like Exeter, Plymouth and Bridgwater will help start and grow dynamic businesses in sectors likely to see the biggest growth in the next ten years, areas like environmental science, marine renewables and nuclear energy.
- Improvements to road and rail across Devon and Somerset, reducing congestion and allowing faster journeys. This includes projects in and around Torbay, Plymouth, North Devon and Exeter, and across the region, such as the A382 upgrade and road widening at Bridge Road Exeter and provision for cycling will improve with schemes like Plymouth Eastern Corridor.
The Deal is part of a £12 billion long-term programme to revitalise local economies. The deals are the latest and greatest example of the British economy being rebuilt from the bottom up, and sharing the benefits of the recovery around the country. Local businesses and council leaders have been invited to open discussions immediately on the next set of projects to be funded, building on the momentum that has been established.