I spoke in the House of Commons this week to welcome the good news of the allocation of a new sum of money to support growth and infrastructure in the Peterborough area as part of the Government’s Growth Fund.
This will assist the city in consolidating its reputation as a great place to live, work and do business – as revealed recently in the think tank Centre for Cities report – and particularly falling joblessness and new business creation.
A total of £21 million has been allocated for 2015/16 to Greater Cambridge & Greater Peterborough, the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for Peterborough and the local area, as part of the biggest devolution of cash from Whitehall to local communities in a generation.
This money is being put directly in the hands of the Greater Cambridge & Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership so local authorities and businesses are able to make sure it goes on the projects which will get the maximum benefit for local people.
Projects include the creation of a Food Manufacturing and Processing Centre of Excellence at Peterborough Regional College –a specialist food manufacturing education resource to train local people who wish to work in the industry, investment in Phase Two of the upgrading of the busy Bourges Boulevard in Peterborough, A47 Junction 20 improvements, to improve this key interchange to the north-east of Peterborough and a new ‘Growth Hub’ – a new approach to business support designed to make it easier for businesses across the LEP area to access the advice and funding they need to grow.
The investment will be used to provide both virtual support and face to face support.
The cash will help local businesses create the jobs we need so more hardworking families can have the security of a regular pay packet, and will help ensure young people have the skills they need to compete in the jobs market.
This is a key part of our long-term economic plan, and will help secure a better and brighter future for people in our area.
I made the point to Ministers that we particularly need to focus on getting those with low or no skills into sustainable employment and tackle the poverty of ambition and endemic intergenerational issues.
People criticise MPs when they don’t see them in the Commons chamber but many are lobbying hard –as I have done – with Ministers over weeks and months, to get the biggest bang for their bucks for their own constituents.
We’ve had bad economic news over the years but it’s maybe time to hope that we’ve turned the corner with better times ahead?