Posted on January 15, 2013
Category: News

Business and council leaders around the Humber have submitted a landmark proposal to Government that would accelerate the area’s development as an offshore wind cluster.

The proposed Hull & Humber City Deal has been drawn up by the four Humber local authorities and the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), following an invitation from Cities Minister Greg Clark MP in November.

City Deals are transactions between Government and local areas to drive economic growth.  They allow cities and their wider areas to do things differently in return for improved outcomes.

The key Hull & Humber proposals include:

  • A new Employment and Skills Board which would set skills priorities for the Humber, based on forecast demand
  • Part of the adult skills budget devolved to be directed towards priority areas
  • Support for local businesses who want to up-skill their workforces
  • More work experience opportunities and a co-ordinated approach to promoting careers related to the Humber Estuary
  • Better co-ordinated responses from Government agencies to speed up decisions on major planning applications
  • A Humber Investment Bank to lend to businesses and support growth projects

The proposals were discussed with Cities Minister Greg Clark MP on a visit to Hull last week.

The Humber is competing against 19 other areas for a Deal, with not all guaranteed success.  Under the rules of the competition, the proposal had to be focussed on a single economic growth issue and request the Government to grant a small number of freedoms or flexibilities – not additional funding.

The Deal would be overseen by a Board made up of council leaders and two business representatives of the LEP, including the Chairman.  This would give legal status to existing informal meeting arrangements.

The Government will announce which areas have been successful next month.  If successful, the local authorities and the LEP will have until October to negotiate the details of the proposals with Government departments.

The Humber will also be one of two areas to work with Lord Heseltine in an “advanced guard” implementing the recommendations of his recent report for Government, “No stone unturned in pursuit of growth”.  This will be an opportunity to look at a broader range of issues.  Lord Heseltine will begin his work with the Humber LEP shortly.

Lord Haskins, Chairman of the Humber LEP, said: “The City Deal would be an important step forward for the development of the Humber, building on recent joint successes including the Humber Bridge tolls, the Enterprise Zones and the Regional Growth Fund.  It would speed up major developments and help us to make sure that investors can access the skills they need locally.  The LEP and the local authorities have worked together on this very closely and very well over the last few months, and we will shortly have an opportunity to go further still when we begin our work with Lord Heseltine.”

Councillor Stephen Parnaby, Leader of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “It is important for the people and businesses of the area that we deliver our shared ambition of establishing the Humber as the UK’s energy estuary.

The Hull and Humber Deal provides a once in a generation opportunity for the 4 local authorities and local businesses to work together with central government to ensure that decisions affecting local economic growth can be dealt with at a Humber wide level by the people who know the area best.”

Councillor Chris Shaw, Leader of North East Lincolnshire Council, said: “This is about building a successful, sustainable future for the whole area and it has been a pleasure working with the other Humber local authorities to put together the proposals, which we hope will allow us to attract further investment and jobs for our communities.”

Councillor Liz Redfern, Leader of North Lincolnshire Council, said: “North Lincolnshire has already been awarded the largest Enterprise Zones in the country in recognition of our potential to build a brand new offshore wind industry in the Humber. We are one of the few areas in the country capable of creating thousands of new jobs with developments like the Able Marine Energy Park and the City Deal will help us maximise our potential for new jobs and investment.”

“The Humber has a clear vision to become the major European and UK centre for renewables and engineering in theUK”

Hull City Council Leader, Councillor Stephen Brady, said:

“We are looking forward to the outcome of the City Deal and the chance to speed up investment and gain more control to help the region thrive economically.”

“The national attention on the Hull and Humber region with the City Deal and Hesletine report is very welcome and reassuring that we can really make something happen to speed up development and inward investment, which can achieve a far-reaching impact for the areas fortunes for many years to come.”

You can read the City Deal Expression of Interest in full here