Partnership aims to boost local economy
Bucks to team up to gain more devolved power
A GROUNDBREAKING partnership between Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire county councils will aim to create at least 135,000 new jobs by 2020.
The agreement could also boost growth by £9 billion a year.
The partnership will apply for new devolved powers from the Government and a report will be heard by Bucks County Council’s cabinet on Monday.
The counties share much common ground and form the heart of science and technology innovation in the UK with markets having a global reach.
The growing devolution agenda nationally has provided the platform for this new approach and the partnership, dubbed ‘England’s Economic Heartland’ wants Government to provide the area with a five-year Growth Deal, bringing together the various funding streams available for strategic projects and economic growth.
This will give confidence for businesses to invest in the area and give the region a competitive advantage on the world stage.
Working together will ensure infrastructure projects properly integrate across county borders rather than working in isolation and money will also be saved by reducing bureaucratic red tape.
Leader of Bucks County Council, Martin Tett, said: “Buckinghamshire is ready to play an even greater role on the world economic stage.
“Being part of England’s Economic Heartland with Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire, means that we form one of the major powerhouses of the UK economy, generating worth that is close to that of Manchester.
“But we believe that together, we can further build on our competitiveness in global markets with this innovative new model.
“We want to enhance the area’s reputation as a serious destination for the new economy industries and their employees, families and supply chains.
“What England’s Economic Heartland does is provide a way which enables economies of scale and efficiencies to be realised but one that also ensures priorities are driven by locally identified needs and opportunities.
“This is in no way a merger of the county councils. While the counties will work together on strategic issues each authority will be a distinct entity and they will retain their roles and responsibilities in local issues.”
England’s Economic Heartland will see the county councils in each of the three counties working together with the respective local enterprise partnerships.
The proposals build on the work which has taken place since December last year when Bucks, Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire declared their intentions of this unified strategic approach at a launch event at Silverstone.