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DIAMONDS ARE THE FUTURE FOR JOBS

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A key group of local authority bosses have called on the government to back new proposals to enable healthy economi...
A key group of local authority bosses have called on the government to back new proposals to enable healthy economies and better infrastructure in a briefing paper delivered to Phil Woolas, minister at the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Reading BC chief executive Trish Haines said: 'The good news is that there is strong growth concentrated in key areas at the moment, which lifts the region as a whole. But we can't guarantee to keep it that way. That means continued growth in jobs, businesses and prosperity in the south east are under threat unless the government allows us to work in different ways.

'The draft South East Regional Economic Strategy highlights eight 'Diamonds for Growth'. The Diamonds share many characteristics such as above average growth rates and large urban areas with a rural hinterland. They also have some of the highest concentrations of deprivation in the region.

Crawley BC chief executive Michael Coughlin said: 'These areas are already delivering for the regional and national economy and for local people, but they have great untapped potential. We could do so much if the current systems for funding and investment and decision-making were improved.

'We need to tackle these important issues. If government helps, or allows, us to work in different ways then we can maintain our growth in the future and deliver for local people. It's already starting to happen. The Partnership for Urban South Hampshire and Gatwick Diamond for instance show how businesses and councils can come together to plan and deliver for longer term prosperity, social justice and essential infrastructure.'

The eight areas are:

- Urban South Hampshire - including Portsmouth and Southampton

- Gatwick Diamond - centred on Crawley

- Brighton and Hove

- Medway

- Basingstoke

- Reading

- Oxford

- Milton Keynes

Ms Haines continued: 'By working together the eight diamonds can make a very strong case for an effective sub or city region approach outside of the large metropolitan areas that will deliver economic stability and added benefits in terms of quality of life for local residents.'

Briefing paper 'South East Diamonds for Growth'

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