Thousands more skilled, better paid jobs are to be created across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire following a landmark deal announced today (March 13).
Council and business leaders will put pen to paper on a pioneering City Deal with Government. Last month a Financial Times publication named Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire one of the best places in the UK for business to invest and this agreement secures additional funding and freedom to accelerate work to strengthen the city and county’s economy.
On these solid foundations, the Government is committing £30.9m which combined with private sector investment and other programmes could see more than £113m invested in the local economy and more than 20,000 jobs created over the next 10 years.
The deal - called Powerhouse Central - is built around unique plans to supply locally-produced, sustainable energy to major employers. Addressing the cost and stable supply of power tackles one of the biggest challenges for local manufacturers, safeguarding jobs and enabling thousands more to be created.
Other key measures include: bringing schools, colleges and universities together with employers to make sure people have the right skills and training, as well as creating thousands of apprenticeships and traineeships; developing sites for new business or existing business to expand into; and supporting business to innovate and develop the next generation of products or materials.
The City Deal programme will be delivered by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Staffordshire County Council and the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, working with more than 40 businesses and partners.
It will accelerate work in recent years to grow the economy, create new jobs, and cement the city and county’s growing reputation for advanced manufacturing, engineering and advanced materials production.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council leader Mohammed Pervez called the city deal a historic step in the city’s continuing journey towards prosperity. He said:
“Today’s deal vindicates all that the city council and its partners are doing to make Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire the choice destination for business and inward investment. This is an overwhelming endorsement of our work and it shows that Government has confidence in us to deliver a jobs and growth bonanza over the next 10 years.
“Our city’s bold plans will build on our growing reputation for knowledge-based commercial enterprise to transform the city into one of the UK’s most important hubs for renewable energy research and manufacturing.
“By taking greater control over skills, training and careers advice provision today we can ensure that the high-value jobs of tomorrow will be filled by people from Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.”
Philip Atkins, Leader of Staffordshire County Council, said:
“Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent has long been a hotbed of innovation and industry from Josiah Wedgwood to JCB and more recently Jaguar Land Rover.
“Just as at the dawn of the industrial revolution, we have the natural resources, transport links, and innovators to once again become a true powerhouse of industry, manufacturing and the production of advanced materials. But despite many successes in recent years we have also been held back by stagnation.
“This groundbreaking deal will unlock our potential and accelerate our work to create a connected county and the right conditions for business to thrive. The biggest of all the second wave of city deals in terms of direct cash from Government, it recognises and rewards our track record of delivery and ambition for the future.
“The result will be more, better paid jobs for Staffordshire people, more, better training and apprenticeships for young people or the unemployed, and more, better support and opportunities for business to invest and flourish.”
Ron Dougan, Chair of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Enterprise Partnership, said:
“Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire’s public and private sector have worked as one to bring this bid together, united by their desire for economic growth across the city and county, so that we generate jobs and greater prosperity for business and local people.
“This innovative deal offers solutions for the challenges our employers face – the price and stable supply of energy, the need for highly skilled staff, creating the sites and connecting infrastructure that businesses need; and support to turn great ideas into commercial success.
“This deal is the culmination of months of hard work and negotiation, but it is also the start of a new era of prosperity and success for Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.”
Key projects to be delivered in the next 10 years include:
· The Stoke-on-Trent District Heat Network, the UK’s first large-scale geothermal project, powering businesses and up to 1,000 homes in the centre of Stoke-on-Trent
· Creation of a smart energy network demonstrator at Keele University to test cutting edge energy and carbon reduction technology
· Harnessing energy from the Four Ashes waste plan in South Staffordshire and a new power station at Meaford to supply local business
· Innovation and support programmes to aid small-to-medium sized business and help them turn ideas into products
· Pilot programmes and investment to create 3,900 apprenticeships, 1,100 traineeships and skills training for 9,000 jobseekers
· Prioritise six key industrial sites to develop through future negotiations with Government: Etruria Valley, Keele University Science and Business Park, City Centre Spine, Meaford, Branston Locks and Lichfield Park.
Staffordshire County Council