£1.1bn Government fund for North West

The government has announced a £1.1bn investment in the North West in a series of growth deals.

In the first wave of investment, the North West will receive £329m for 2015-16 from a £2bn Local Growth fund pot. A further £783m of indicative funding was announced from 2016-17 onwards.

Greater Manchester received £170m, the highest award in the country, for next year with an additional £307m expected in later years. Lancashire was granted £84m with £149.6m to come, Liverpool £46m with another £186.5m in the pipeline, Cheshire & Warrington £20m with a further £122m allocated and Cumbria £9m with a further £17.7m to be given.

The government said the allocation of indicative funding was because the quality of the proposals was so high. Discussions are ongoing with Local Enterprise Partnerships to prepare for future negotiations on the next round of growth deals.

Lord Michael Heseltine recommended a £49bn regional fund to drive growth in his October 2012 report No Stone Unturned. Following the report, the government announced plans for a £12bn long-term investment in local economies.

In Greater Manchester, the first wave of funding will focus on transport investment, with 12 new trams, a bus route from Bolton to Manchester, and transport interchanges in Ashton-under-Lyne and Stockport town centres. Transport for Greater Manchester said that the government commitment will unlock a further £37m of local match-funding.

In Cumbria, the initial £9m will go towards the development of an Advanced Manufacturing Technology Centre at Furness College, and in Cheshire & Warrington, 500 homes are expected to start on site in 2015 and a Life Science Investment Fund will be created to support business start-ups at Alderley Park. Cheshire East Council said its allocation would support the development of two new roads at Poynton and Congleton.

In the Liverpool city region, £50m has been earmarked for investment in transport connections.

Sir Richard Leese, vice-chairman of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, said: "There are many welcome elements for business and economic growth in Greater Manchester in this deal. But it should be remembered this isn't just a growth deal, it's a growth and reform deal.

"Our vision for Manchester is that growth and the reform of public services, increasing people's independence while reducing demand and costs, go hand-in-hand. Together we believe these two strands can make Greater Manchester self-sufficient and neutral to the public purse."

Greg Clark, minister for cities, said: "This is a landmark day for Britain's local economies. National growth is the sum of local growth. For Britain to prosper every part of the country needs to fulfil its potential. No two places are the same and the people who live, work and do business in each place know best what their area needs to do well. Today is the day when we back local leaders to create jobs and prosperity in their area."

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