Just over two weeks ago our part of world shone in the spotlight of the Tour de France. I joined the crowds in High Bradfield to witness a momentous day for Sheffield and the wider region. But the next day it was a landmark day of an entirely different nature and one which may have slipped under most people’s radar.
The announcement of a new Local Growth Deal for Sheffield may not have attracted as much interest as the world’s greatest cycle race coming to our streets! But I want to outline just how significant it was.
It has been my vision over the past four years to see power and money wrestled back from Whitehall and placed in the hands of local leaders and businesses. That’s what the Local Growth Deals have done. Thanks to the Liberal Democrats we’re giving power and money to people who know how to spend it best, making a difference to local communities.
Sheffield secured a £320 million boost through the Local Growth Deal, which is estimated will create over 28,000 jobs and training for 40,000. It is the fifth most substantial Growth Deal 0f any region. That’s great news for Sheffield jobs.
It will support £600 million worth of infrastructure projects, including improvements to Sheffield City Centre, transport links to sites in the Dearne Valley and an extended airport link road to Doncaster-Sheffield Airport.
The funding will also create a £130 million Skills Bank, providing training for 40,000 people in the Sheffield City Region, including between 5,000 and 7,500 extra apprentices.
Our City Region chairman confirms that Sheffield “is clearly punching its weight when it comes to newly devolved powers and funds from Government”.
We are giving Sheffield the powers and money to become the economic powerhouse it deserves to be. This will also generate growth, jobs, and prosperity in the North.
It makes me extremely proud that Liberal Democrats are ensuring we’re the first government in a long time to have given back more powers than we took, ending a culture of Whitehall knows best. It is nothing short of putting localism, and Sheffield, at the heart of the British recovery.