Part­ner­ship aims to boost lo­cal econ­omy

Bucks to team up to gain more de­volved power

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - By An­drew Jack­son an­drew.jackon01@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

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.

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