City deal will ‘bring more jobs’

Deal: Lancashire County Council chief executive Phil Halsall
Deal: Lancashire County Council chief executive Phil Halsall
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A city deal worth £1billion could help to create 23,000 new jobs in Preston over the next 10 years.

The Government has invited Preston to strike a deal which would see them handed cash and decision-making power to boost the city.

The bid, jointly put together by Lancashire County Council and Preston City Council, would include opening up major roads around the city.

Bosses said infrastructure improvements could bring in a £1bn boost to the economy and deliver 15,000 new homes.

At a meeting of Lancashire County Council’s cabinet yesterday they agreed to press ahead with the ‘Preston City Deal’, which needs to be submitted by January 15.

Addressing the meeting, Lancashire County Council’s chief executive, Phil Halsall, said: “The ‘Preston City Deal’ is one of 20 that have been invited across the UK. It is a good opportunity.

“The wider Preston area is an incredibly prosperous area and over the last 10 years it created 20,000 new jobs.

“At the same time over that period it out-performed the core cities in the UK. The opportunity is there.

“To recreate the growth we have had over the next 10 years we need to make sure we have got the right infrastructure in place to allow growth.”

Preston is the only place in the North West invited to strike a deal with Whitehall as part of the second wave of the so-called ‘City Deals’.

Welcoming the bid, Coun Michael Green, cabinet member for economic development, environment and planning, said: “It is pleasing the government are inviting the Preston city area to submit a bid. That shows an element of confidence in the area.

“We need additional funding to come into the area and if we want a successful Lancashire we need a successful Preston area. The two go hand in hand.

Coun Bill Winlow, leader of the authority’s Liberal Democrat party, said: “This would bring massive benefits across the county.”