Ministers support Manchester’s £3bn funding request

Rachael Tinniswood

A ministerial group is to be set up to support Manchester in its bid for further projects, including an application to the Transport Innovation Fund for £3bn in exchange for congestion charges, as part of a super-casino compensation package.

Communities Secretary Hazel Blears has confirmed that, along with a £10m regeneration package to speed the delivery of the Sportcity development, a ministerial group, to be chaired by Mrs Blears, will be created.

Bringing together representatives from Manchester City Council and ministers from the Department of Health, the Department for Transport, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, the team will support Manchester city leaders as they progress longer-term projects, including:

  • An application to the Transport Innovation Fund for £3bn of public transport improvements in exchange for the implementation of congestion charges.
  • A new Transport Hub to provide increased rail links across the North West, subject to a Network Rail study.
  • Refurbishment of the former Sharp building to house computer gaming company Redvision, and a hub for new games and media businesses.
  • Three new skills academies: on skills, facilities management and digital media.

The Government is also working with councils in Greater Manchester on their plans for a Multi-Area Agreement to be signed this summer to boost jobs, transport, investment and housing through greater co-operation.

As part of the compensation package, the New East Manchester urban regeneration company, which will invite proposals for the new Sportcity site, and spearhead a series of local regeneration projects, has also been extended to 2014.

Communities Secretary Hazel Blears said: "This £10m boost for Sportcity will unlock huge sporting potential in East Manchester and attract visitors from across the UK, and beyond. It's another piece of the jigsaw in Manchester's regeneration success story, and can help to create new jobs.

"The new ministerial group will also ensure that success continues well into the future by giving the Government's support to city leaders as they drive forward new jobs, more skills and better transport for our communities."

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