UPDATED: Bournemouth and Poole given greater independence from Government in bid to boost economy (From Bournemouth Echo)
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UPDATED: Bournemouth and Poole given greater independence from Government in bid to boost economy
8:55am Tuesday 19th February 2013 in News
BOURNEMOUTH and Poole will be one of 20 areas to be given greater independence from the Government, it has been announced.
The area will be part of the City Deals initiative and will negotiate with Whitehall to take on extra powers with the aim of boosting economic growth.
Focused on unlocking investment sites and removing barriers to economic growth, the Bournemouth and Poole City Region Deal identifies major opportunities at Bournemouth Airport and the Port of Poole.
Participating areas will have the ability to use budgets better for local needs such as training and skills, roads and other developments.
In return, the areas must demonstrate they have a strong plan for local growth.
MP for Bournemouth East, Tobias Ellwood said: “This is excellent news for the area.
“We have been working hard behind the scenes for some to get Bournemouth included and I delighted at the result.
“This will have a major impact on the local economy.”
Gordon Page, Chair of the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, a key driver behind the Bournemouth and Poole City Region Deal, said; “This is excellent news for Dorset. Our plans are ambitious and we welcome the government's support to inject the pace through devolved powers and extra funding.
"We have two key sites that are capable of delivering significant economic growth and jobs, namely Bournemouth Airport and the Port of Poole. This deal will provide accessibility to over 85 hectares of new employment land, which will enable jobs to be created and businesses to grow.”
The Bournemouth and Poole City Bid outlines a number of options to improve access to Bournemouth Airport such as transport improvements to the B3073 and the A338, and improving links between Canford Bottom and Blackwater.
Likewise at the Port of Poole, the bid outlines the potential economic opportunities by improving the transport links on the surrounding roads and replacing the disused railway link.
Towards the end of last year Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch were invited to compete for a 'City Deal'.
The area is one of 20 included in the second wave of City Deals, which are designed to kickstart local growth and create jobs.
The local authorities of Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch, along with key partners will now enter into negotiations with government to look at the Bournemouth and Poole City Region Deal in further detail.
This process is likely to be completed towards the end of 2013.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “These deals help cities and their wider areas make once in a generation changes that will be felt by everyone across their region.
“Letting go of power and money doesn't come naturally to Whitehall. Over time, the economic importance of other parts of the country has been devastatingly downplayed, as the economic elite have narrowed the debate towards a London-centric view.
“Rather than let our industries and communities wither, we need to free up cities outside of London that have their own unique selling points.”
Mr Clegg warned that the UK economy was losing out on £41 billion a year because of a London-centric business model that has allowed other great cities to “wither”.