A ground-breaking, innovative plan to drive economic growth and create over 31,000 jobs across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire has moved a step closer.
Following a speech by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in the City of London last night, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire has earned a place on the shortlist of potential areas for the next wave of City Deals. The deals offer councils and their partners greater freedom, funding and powers from Government to bolster their local economies, attract new business and create new jobs for local people.
The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Staffordshire County Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council submitted their joint City Deal bid last month.
Its central premise is to make Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire the key European centre for research and manufacturing of advanced materials, including ceramics, metals and polymers, thriving alongside other businesses and growth sectors in the region. It will build on and accelerate existing work to support job creation and growth across the city and county.
The proposal was drawn up following close working with more than 40 public and private partners including councils, businesses, education providers and transport bodies.
Council and LEP leaders will now undergo months of negotiations with Government departments to finalise the proposals and seek to secure the City Deal for Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. The Government is due to decide which areas will secure a deal later this year.
Philip Atkins, Leader of Staffordshire County Council, said:
“Creating the right conditions for more private sector jobs and economic growth is our absolute top priority so we are delighted to make it through to the next phase of negotiations.
“The City Deal offers an excellent opportunity to build on and accelerate work already underway across the city and county to attract new businesses to the area, help our existing firms grow and thrive, and improve prospects for our residents.
“With greater powers and funding from a deal to invest in regenerating sites, to improve roads and other infrastructure, and to ramp up skills and training provision, we can make Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire an international powerhouse in advanced materials production even faster.
“However, there is still a long way to go to and we will only sign on the dotted line if it is in the best interests of the entire city and county, and a deal that is right for local people.”
Councillor Mohammed Pervez, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council said: “This city deal will help to secure the future of Stoke-on-Trent in terms of jobs and growth.
“Our city has a strong heritage in manufacturing and while this has lost focus in recent times there is no reason why we cannot be at the forefront of advanced manufacturing once again.
“Stoke-on-Trent has a huge potential to grow, it enjoys a fantastic location and our ambition is to create a great working city. Our Central Business District and City Sentral shopping and leisure complex are testament to our ambition to transform our city.
“I want the very best for our people and our future generations. What we sow today we will reap in the future in terms of jobs and a city we can all be proud of.”
Ron Dougan, Chair of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said:
“It is hugely positive that the government has recognised the substance behind our exciting, ambitious and achievable proposals.
“Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire’s public and private sector have worked as one to bring this bid together, united by their desire for economic growth across the city and county, so that we generate jobs and greater prosperity for business and local people.
“The hard work continues but it is clear to see that we are on the right path.”