COUNCIL leader Andrew Geary has welcomed a Government decision to name Milton Keynes as one of 20 places invited to bid for new ‘City Deals’ that would boost growth in the area.
The Conservative politician said the move recognised MK ‘as an economic powerhouse,’ adding that – if successful – the deal could create up to 70,000 jobs over the next 12-15 years.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Cities Minister Greg Clark announced today that 20 areas can compete for ‘City Deals’ that would see Whitehall devolve powers in exchange for responsibility for delivering growth locally.
The first phase of City Deals involved ‘Core Cities,’ such as Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield.
Now Milton Keynes has been invited to be part of Wave 2 of the City Deals programme, which includes cities which are well placed to deliver significant economic benefits to the UK.
Milton Keynes Council must now set out what should be part of a unique ‘Milton Keynes Deal’ in order to deliver jobs and growth.
Milton Keynes’ proposals are expected to show how up to 70,000 new jobs could be created by 2026, provided its City Deal allows greater financial freedom and local control. The council will also argue that more of the financial benefits of increased business growth should be retained locally to support greater investment in the economy and jobs.
Mr Geary said: “Once again Milton Keynes has been rightly recognised as an economic powerhouse.
“We have pushed hard for Milton Keynes to be involved in City Deals and I very much welcome this opportunity to work in partnership with the government and with local enterprise partners on our proposals.
“We will be wholly ambitious and innovative in our bid as it’s what Milton Keynes deserves.
“Under the right conditions we can create up to 70,000 jobs over the next 12-15 years. Any deal should recognise that making Milton Keynes even more attractive as a business location must come with additional benefits.
“We will negotiate hard with government as we will not want to strike a deal unless it delivers what we believe is best for Milton Keynes.”
Wave 2 cities will be invited to submit proposals to ministers during 2013.