AN economic partnership set up to bring jobs and investment to the Milton Keynes area is celebrating being allocated more than £13million.
The news on behalf of SEMLEP (South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership), was announced by Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles and follows the announcement of a £56m new shopping park to be built on land next to MK Dons Stadium creating hundreds of jobs next year.
It also comes on the back of more good news with Network Rail’s new national centre due to open in the new year with 3,000 jobs – many being recruited locally – well under way.
Councillor Andrew Geary, Leader of Milton Keynes Council, welcomed the news and said: “This is excellent news for the SEMLEP region which means it is excellent news for Milton Keynes.
“As was always intended for Milton Keynes, we’ve grown to become the region’s economic heart, and we’ll benefit from how this funding is invested right across the area, as well from as any borough specific projects.”
Dr Ann Limb, chairman of SEMLEP, added: “Milton Keynes is one of the four key urban centres of the South East Midlands and critical to the success of the area as a whole.
“I welcome the leadership given by Councillor Andrew Geary who consistently champions Milton Keynes and the region as an engine of growth for the country.”
The £13.1m is a share of the Growing Places Fund set up to boost economic growth by investing in infrastructure projects to create new jobs and homes.
SEMLEP (South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership), which consists of four unitary authorities and eight district councils, is one of the biggest economic partnerships (seventh largest) in the country and has successfully been allocated government money designed to boost the region’s infrastructure.
Decisions on how and on what projects in the region the money will be spent on will be decided over the coming months with the first projects set to get under way in spring 2012.
Chief executives and economic development officers representing SEMLEP have all agreed key criteria to make sure each project is judged on its merits and that each will benefit the region as a whole.