City councillors will meet next week to agree a plan to put Preston in the running for millions of pounds of new funding to create jobs, homes and growth in the city.Advertisement
Preston has been invited to compete with 19 other cities and regions in the City Deal programme and the Cabinet will meet to decide whether to go forward with the scheme.
Early estimates show if the City Deal were secured up to 23,000 new jobs, 15,000 new homes and a knock on effect of £1 billion of growth could be secured over the next 10 years for the city and surrounding area.
Preston’s cabinet say they would look to invest in major highways and infrastructure projects, using the funding, to get the city moving.
Writing for Blog Preston in November when the deals were announced, leader of the City Council Peter Rankin said the city was well placed to bid.
He said: “The Preston Region is well placed to bid for and win a City Deal. In the decade to 2008 it saw 16% growth in private sector jobs – the third highest rate in the country. Since then, Preston has demonstrated resilience in the face of the international economic downturn, continuing to provide jobs for residents and those from other parts of Lancashire – between 2007 and 2010 it provided around 46,000 more jobs than it had working age residents.
“The city’s role as a transport, administrative and education hub make it a magnet for new jobs growth, as does the location of substantial high level advanced engineering businesses and two Enterprise Zones on its doorstep. Increasingly, more people are moving out of unemployment and the ratio of unemployed to available jobs is one of the lowest in the North West.”
The council also feel the City Deal could draw more than £500m in private funding in the next five to 10 years.
Any successful bid for a City Deal would see a new Board created to manage and implement the funding, spearheaded by the chair of the Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Edwin Booth and the leader of the City Council.
Preston would be competing against cities and towns such as Coventry, Stoke, Sunderland and Milton Keynes to land the funding.
If the city council’s cabinet signs off the expression of interest on Wednesday 9 January at 6pm a full proposal will be submitted to Westminster in Spring 2013.
You can read the full expression of interest document on the council website.
Do you think Preston should bid? If the council wins, what should it do with the money? Let us know in the comments below