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Swindon given chance to win City Deal from Government
9:20am Tuesday 30th October 2012 in News
THE town’s economy could be in line for a major shot in the arm after winning the chance to negotiate a ‘City Deal’ with the Government.
Swindon and Wiltshire entered a joint bid to be in the second wave of areas to benefit from tailored deals, which will allow towns and cities to get greater control over spending, and were yesterday announced by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg as among 20 places to be awarded the chance to hand over a proposal.
Now council and business leaders in each of the areas will be asked to put forward proposals that ‘unlock’ potential for local economic growth and ministers said plans would need to be ‘ambitious’ to be taken forward.
Council leader Rod Bluh, who was at the launch in London yesterday, said much of the detail still had to be worked out before the deadline of January next year.
He said: “We are delighted Swindon and Wiltshire have been named in the second wave and has been identified as a growth area.
“We have got to work up the detailed proposal but the sort of ideas include opening up employment land and infrastructure. In particular we want to use the military connections in the area and see whether we can tap into the skills of those servicemen and women leaving the Forces.”
Coun Bluh (Con, Old Town) said businesses will be involved in the drawing up of the proposal.
He said: “The local enterprise partnership has been involved from the outset but there is no reason why we cannot extend it to all businesses.
“Normally in the past the Government hands out money without any real engagement with the areas. This is the first time, through this initiative, that local government and businesses get the chance to say directly what they need.”