Milton Keynes confirmed as part of City Deals programme
Tuesday February 19th, 2013
Milton Keynes has been confirmed as one of the front runners in the Government’s City Deals programme that will see powers devolved to local areas in exchange for innovative approaches to boosting the local economy.
Last summer, eight of England’s largest cities confirmed deals with the Government to boost local growth.
Now Milton Keynes is one of 20 more cities will get the green light to go ahead and negotiate plans to get the freedom, powers and tools needed to shape their economic future.
City Deals was launched in a competitive format by the Government last year. The idea was that local authorities had to make a credible case to be involved in a series of unique deals which will help deliver new homes, create jobs, improve skills, and improve local infrastructure.
The deals will be reached between Government and cities so that local areas can bid for new powers that will enable them to grow. In return for cities’ strong plans for growth the government will devolve financial and planning powers to let cities take charge of their own destinies – from autonomy over how to spend their training and skills budgets, to creating local investment funds to build roads and unlock developments.
Yesterday (Mon 18th) the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg confirmed Milton Keynes as one of front runners to benefit from a City Deal.
Milton Keynes Council Leader Andrew Geary said: “This is fantastic news – but I believe it’s what Milton Keynes deserves. Now we have to get down to the real ‘nitty gritty’ and drill down into how we make the ‘Milton Keynes Deal’ work.
“Milton Keynes and a significant number of authorities within the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership area have worked hard to make this happen, and the opportunity for us to work together with our neighbours with whom we share not just a geographic boundary but also a functional economic synergy for the greater good of all of us is indeed an opportunity that must be grasped and embraced.”
“Our deal proposal is based on delivering the new homes and associated jobs outlined in our Core Strategies and Development Plans.
“Any deal should recognise that making Milton Keynes even more attractive as a business location must come with additional benefits. In particular, we want to be able to retain locally more of the financial benefit from building homes and creating more jobs so we can ensure Milton Keynes remains a high quality place for both residents and investors. 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.”
The next stage is to develop more proposals with government departments over the next few months.
These will then be the subject of negotiations with a panel of government ministers during the summer.
Milton Keynes is already on track to take more control of its local growth agenda, having recently acquired the land assets from the Homes and Communities Agency. It also took control of the vitally important Milton Keynes Tariff, a requirement of developers to pay a sum of money each time they build, which goes towards identified strategic infrastructure improvements.
In July 2012, Government agreed the first wave of city deals with the eight largest cities outside London and their wider economic areas. These agreements were bespoke to reflect the different needs of individual places, but every deal aimed to:
• Give cities the powers and tools they need to drive local economic growth
• Unlock projects or initiatives that will boost their economies; and
• Strengthen the governance arrangements of each city.
Each and every deal represented a genuine transaction – with both cities and Government offering and demanding things in return.
Milton Keynes was one of 20 areas which was invited to bring forward proposals for a second wave of city deals.
The 20 cities are: the Black Country, Bournemouth and Poole, Brighton and Hove, Greater Cambridge, Coventry and Warwickshire, Hull and Humber, Ipswich, Leicester and Leicestershire, Milton Keynes and the South East Midlands, Greater Norwich, Oxford and Oxfordshire, Reading and Central Berkshire, Plymouth, Preston, Southampton and Portsmouth, Southend and Thames Gateway South Essex, Stoke and Staffordshire, Sunderland and the North East, Swindon and Wiltshire, and Tees Valley.
Bespoke deals will be complemented by a core package that will be developed and made available to all cities by March 2013.