Ben Howlett, the MP for Bath, has welcomed calls on the Government to back a devolution bid that could generate an extra £2bn per annum for the economy whilst improving local lives.
In a submission to Her Majesty’s Treasury on 4th September, West of England leaders have proposed a £1bn investment which could triple the level of spending on major projects such as transport, flood defence and housing over the next 10 years.
Ben Howlett said: “An opportunity to boost jobs and growth in the local economy is always to be welcomed, and one on this scale would bring huge benefits to everyone living, working in and visiting Bath.
“It is a creative, as well as ambitious proposal which could see spending on key infrastructure projects dramatically increased, simultaneously generating a 5% increase in economic productivity.
“I am very supportive of the proposal and will do what I can to ensure its success.”
The package, which also proposes greater local control over post-16 training and skills, is focused on increasing economic productivity to grow the region’s economy by at least 5% more than it would without the deal.
In doing so it will create a fairer region where people have better access to employment, more homes available and better transport options.
It would be closely linked to existing and highly successful joint working in the region, opening up opportunities for more cross-border projects.
It will mean an even more collaborative approach to issues such as where new homes are built and how public transport improvements are delivered.
The submission proposes a ‘Payment by Results’ approach to the £1bn for infrastructure. This means the region is seeking the freedom to borrow money to invest up-front, with the Government committing to repaying it once the economic success of the investment has been demonstrated.