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Second wave cities given green light

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All 20 of the second wave cities seeking to secure a ‘city deal’ with government have been given the green light to negotiate a finalised deal, the Treasury has announced.

The cities will now enter negotiations with the government to finalise their deals agreements, a process which is expected to conclude by the end of the year. Deals have already been agreed with the eight core cities.

Talks between the government and the 20 cities will take place on a “staggered timeline”, according to the Treasury, although there was no additional detail about which city hopefuls would get to go first.

The Treasury also did not have any further information about the “core package”, the part of the deal available to all 20 cities which will then be supplemented with bespoke arrangements and agreements over devolved powers and funding.

Speaking at a Mansion House event last night, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said: “Some of the proposals need a bit more work, but the majority will progress, without delay, to formal negotiations.

“Once all twenty are complete, waves one and two will, together, cover 67% of the country’s population and 64% of its jobs, helping us build a stronger, more diverse, more productive and more resilient UK economy.”

The deputy prime minister invited other parts of the country to approach government with their proposals. “For the communities which aren’t covered, as I’ve said in the past: come forward. Come to government with your ideas, your demands, your commitments.

“We’re working with some of those places already. The momentum in this agenda is now unstoppable. The first two waves show that the Coalition is determined to give real powers back to communities who show they will make good use of it - and that applies to every part of the country.”

While the announcement has been welcomed in local government, concern has also been expressed about the way the offer has been limited to a select number of areas.

Cllr Peter Box (Lab), chairman of the LGA’s economy and transport board, called for government to “accelerate the pace and scale of devolution and make deals available to all areas that want them”.

He added: “There is clearly varying degrees of buy-in from different government departments. We hope that the March Budget will carry through the promise of the Autumn Statement by confirming that all of the tools and levers needed to drive local growth will be made available to councils, local businesses and their partners.”

The focus for the 20 second wave city deals:

  • Black Country: high-value manufacturing sector including aircraft control systems, turbo technology and automotive components
  • Bournemouth and Poole: advanced manufacturing for marine and aerospace industries, digital and creative industries
  • Brighton and Hove: eco-tech sector in conjunction with universities
  • Greater Cambridge: high-tech firms focused on biotechnology, software and electronics
  • Coventry and Warwickshire: advanced manufacturing and engineering with a focus on higher level engineering skills
  • Ipswich: high value jobs through the development of Sizewell and Felixstowe
  • Hull and the Humber: focus on Humber Estuary’s existing chemicals and processing sector and investment in offshore wind investment
  • Leicester and Leicestershire: growth of manufacturing and logistics and research from three local universities
  • Milton Keynes and the South East Midlands: sustainable growth in housing
  • Greater Norwich: environmental and life sciences industry
  • Oxford and Oxfordshire: science research including bio-sciences, space technology and cryogenics
  • Plymouth: advanced engineering and design, marine renewable energy, maritime and sub-sea operations and supporting technologies
  • Southampton and Portsmouth: maritime transport and logistics, defence and advanced manufacturing and the visitor economy
  • Preston: small and medium sized businesses, particularly in the aerospace and advanced manufacturing sector
  • Reading & Central Berkshire: skills for young people in construction, logistics and knowledge intensive areas
  • Southend and South Essex: increase the supply of good quality office space and housing
  • Stoke and Staffordshire: advanced materials - metals, ceramics, polymers - and advanced manufacturing
  • Sunderland and the North East: expand manufacturing base and diversify city economy.
  • Swindon and Wiltshire: military technology and military skills
  • Tees Valley: expand existing petrochemical and pharmaceutical industries into cleaner energy including biofuels and offshore wind
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