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£1bn for schemes 'to unlock growth'

David Cameron and Nick Clegg have hailed agreements with local bodies to deliver £1 billion of projects designed to drive growth.

Under the coalition's Growth Deals scheme, around £2 billion a year from Whitehall budgets is being gathered into a Local Growth Fund.

The money is then being channelled through 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), run by councils and businesses.

The latest set of projects to win government approval under the scheme, which will not kick in until the next financial year, include:

:: £17 million for improvements to the A2300 Burgess Hill link road, to relieve congestion and enable a significant housing development.

:: £15.8 million towards the multi-year transport project in Fareham and Gosport, also supporting the proposed development of 6,000 homes at Welborne.

:: The Tolgus and Barncoose junction improvement project (£5.9 million matched with £1.7 million) designed to create a gateway between Redruth and Camborne in Cornwall.

:: Around £6 million to help to bring forward sites for housing and jobs in the Black Country, including £2.3 million in Sandwell, and £0.4 million towards the development of Walsall Waterfront.

:: £5 million for the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing at Nottingham University, which has match funding from the university and industry of £95 million. The project aims to train over 3,000 manufacturing engineers and deliver research and knowledge exchange worth £60 million.

:: £4.5 million to establish a Very Light Rail Innovation Centre in the Black Country to create new public transport technologies for the future.

:: £2.6 million to support the development of a new technology to give drivers live traffic information and improve local journey times.

:: Funding for broadband networks in poorly served areas, such as £6 million for the Heart of the South West (matched with £6 million of local funding) and £3.6 million for Cumbria to extend availability of superfast broadband.

Mr Cameron said: "Giving local communities the power and the money to unlock growth and development and make the spending decisions that work for them is a key part of our long-term economic plan to secure a brighter future for Britain and ensure a recovery for all.

"That's what Growth Deals are all about, backing local people and investing in the infrastructure, housing and skills that will drive forward local economies, create more jobs and opportunities for hard-working people and supercharge all parts of our country."

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg added: "A quiet revolution is under way in regions across the country and Growth Deals signal the death of the culture where Whitehall calls the shots."


From Belfast Telegraph