By JOSEPH WATTS
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
The “City Deal” Norwich’s leaders want to negotiate with central government could deliver 40,000 new jobs over the next 20 years.
Under the City Deals initiative councils can bargain with ministers to take on powers and budgets only previously wielded from London.
Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg announced Monday his officials would negotiate with Norwichs leaders, who must show their bid boosts economic growth in the East.
The Norfolk deal was proposed by the Greater Norwich Development Partnership Norwich City Council, South Norfolk Council, Broadland District Council, Norfolk County Council and the New Anglia LEP.
The group proposes using new powers to turbo-charge success at the Norwich Research Park (NRP), allowing it to quadruple in size.
Meanwhile the bid document they put together suggests this would deliver 40,000 jobs around Norwich.
Ann Steward, Norfolks cabinet member for economic development, said: The NRP is already a fantastic facility, but having our bid accepted offers local decision makers the freedom to unlock its potential and speed up the delivery of thousands of new jobs and growth.
To see the NRP grow Norwich needs more investors willing to back innovative ideas, skilled workers, housing and better transport links.
Norwichs deal would allow councils to borrow money in new ways to fund infrastructure - a better communications network, housing and transport upgrades like the A47 or railways - and then fast track them through government agencies.
The partnership would get a commanding say on how education budgets are spent, allowing them to train people to work at the NRP.
Meanwhile loans and grants would be set up to help start up new firms.
What they are saying about the City Deal:
Norwich City Council leader Brenda Arthur said: In these difficult economic times with a tough jobs market an opportunity like this had to be seized.
Broadland Council leader Andrew Proctor said: This is encouraging news and shows government recognises greater Norwich as an area that is set to grow.
Leader of South Norfolk John Fuller said: This is a huge vote of confidence by ministers in the NRP.
New Anglia chair Andy Wood said: It provides a great opportunity to deliver more jobs and strengthen our economy.
Norwich South MP Simon Wright said: A City Deal for Norwich based around the world-class reputation of the NRP means we will reap the benefits of growth sooner rather than later.
Norwich North MP Chloe Smith said: Its great news for Norwich specifically for jobs in years to come.
CEO Norfolk Chamber of Commerce Caroline Williams said: It gives us freedom to shape Norwichs economic future differently from whats been possible in the past.
Click here to view the full submission document.