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Transport and jobs cash for York through Government powers deal
NEW jobs, improved roads and kickstarting the stalled York Central development are to be at the heart of York’s ambitions under a new deal which will see more Government powers switched to Yorkshire.
The Leeds City Region Deal will see the city become a member of a “combined authority” with five other local authorities from North and West Yorkshire, gaining a share of a £1 billion public transport and highways fund and a £400 million pot to modernise infrastructure.
It will mean City of York Council having more control over funding and “key decisions” for the future of the region, and could lead to 20,000 jobs being created across the area in the “medium term”.
As reported on thepress.co.uk yesterday, the deal is also designed to open up more apprenticeship positions, create faster and more reliable transport links, double exports and attract more international companies to York and North and West Yorkshire.
More details of specific schemes and initiatives are expected once the amounts of funding made available for individual councils are confirmed.
Council chiefs in York hope the new powers will pave the way for reviving the York Central scheme, which has been put on hold amid the recession.
York council leader James Alexander said: “The City Region Deal is a major boost to York jobs and growth and a significant step forward in the economic ambition of this city.
“It positions us a major economic player in the region. The work of the combined authority will be incremental as we work ever more closely together over the coming years to the benefit of all our residents.
“The speed of economic growth of a city is determined by the health and wellbeing of its infrastructure.
“This deal will allow us to make significant improvements in our transport infrastructure by rail and road, unlocking key economic sites such as York Central.”
The council said the deal would allow it to make “quicker decisions” on local issues and prevent the authorities involved having to lobby the Government on matters such as major transport schemes. It will also see various separate funding streams merged into one.
The deal aims to set up an Apprenticeship Academy for 14 to 24-year-olds and Apprenticeship Hubs, improved information and guidance for vulnerable young people and giving priority to projects which create the most jobs and economic growth and are the most environmentally-friendly.