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By Ian Dipple Thursday 10 January 2013 Updated: 10/01 15:55
HANDING businesses control of more than £7billion of funding could create thousands of new jobs in Redditch and Bromsgrove in future years.
The Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership has been chosen to pilot the economic recommendations outlined in Lord Heseltine's No Stone Unturned report, which will see money given directly to the regions rather than being spent from London.
In effect it means businesses and public sector organisations which make up the LEP - including Redditch Borough Council - will have more power to spend money on supporting businesses, investing in infrastructure and developing skills in the area to drive growth and create jobs.
It potentially offers another route to revive the LEP's plans for an enterprise belt in the city region which was turned down by the Government in favour of creating Enterprise Zones in other areas of the country. It could have created up to 5,000 new jobs in and around Redditch and Bromsgrove.
Projects which will be looked at include developing by the A435 and in particular supporting Beoley based Oakland International by improving site access and infrastructure and the development of related food businesses on the site, which it is estimated could create more than 1,500 jobs alone. Re-routing the A38 at Longbridge is another possibility.
It is estimated the Greater Birmingham LEP could be able to bid from a pot of about £7.2billion, but the money will not be available until 2015 at the earliest. The LEP is now working with Lord Heseltine on a three month review, which will examine how to implement the idea.
Coun Roger Hollingworth, who represents Redditch and Bromsgrove on the LEP board, said: "Instead of having to go to the Government all of the time for money we will be able to administer it from here and we will be making the decisions about how and where it gets spent."
Andy Street, LEP chairman, added: "The onus is now on us, over the next three months, to demonstrate further that we can maximise the potential of this important opportunity."
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