Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is visiting The Growth Hub at the University of Gloucestershire today to formally sign the Growth Deal for the county.
Set up in October 2014 as a partnership between the university and GFirst LEP, The Growth Hub received funding from the deal which will see £62.5 million invested in Gloucestershire to help to create 5,000 jobs and generate up to £40 million in public and private investment for Gloucestershire.
Richard O’Doherty, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, of University of Gloucestershire said: “The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg joins other business leaders and key figures who have seen first-hand at the University of Gloucestershire the difference we can make to growth in the county through our innovative partnership established at The Growth Hub with GFirst LEP.
“Since it opened its doors, The Growth Hub has met with more than 2400 people and provided services and advice to almost 420 businesses. Our particular focus is on businesses with high growth potential and we are working with more than 50 of these on their long term growth plans.”
GFirst LEP has worked in partnership with the private, public and voluntary sectors to present the best possible case for investment in the county, which was rewarded by Government with Gloucestershire being the only LEP to receive the full funding requested in its business plan for the county.
The Deputy Prime Minster Nick Clegg said: “I’m delighted to be finalising this historic deal bringing real change across Gloucestershire. This significant Growth Deal will enable a whole host of jobs to be created, boost local business by supporting them to upskill their staff and transform transport networks. All of this is a major boost to the economy in Gloucestershire. Growth Deals are about local areas leading their own growth, giving more power to people in the regions so we work together to build a strong economy and a fairer society.”
Mr Clegg met with Dr Diane Savory OBE, Chair of GFirst LEP, Chief Executive David Owen, Board Members Roman Cooper and Adam Starkey, and Councillor Mark Hawthorne, Leader of Gloucestershire County Council.
Dr Diane Savory OBE, Chair of GFirst LEP said: “We are delighted to welcome Nick Clegg today to sign the Growth Deal. This significant funding will give Gloucestershire a real boost and enable us to get started on the implementation of many important projects. Our Growth Deal is being signed today in The Growth Hub, one of the projects that will see the benefits of the Growth Deal in the near future; delivering countywide spokes of The Growth Hub, enabling businesses to access support services across Gloucestershire. Gloucestershire will also benefit hugely from the construction of the centre of excellence in Renewable Energy, Engineering & Nuclear skills (GREEN); a partnership between GFirst LEP and South Gloucestershire and Stroud College. We look forward to GREEN becoming a world-class centre of excellence for STEM training, providing the skills needed for the expected demand in nuclear energy.”
David Owen, Chief Executive of GFirst LEP, added: “It’s great to see that Government have shown their confidence in the economic ambition of Gloucestershire by awarding GFirst LEP the full amount of funding requested. Our Growth Deal award of £62.5 million will benefit the whole county and we’ll continue to work closely with our partners on future bids to ensure they are equally successful.”
The Gloucestershire Growth Deal is part of a £12 billion long-term Government programme to revitalise local economies. As part of the Government’s on-going commitment to LEPs, it confirmed in the Autumn Statement that there will be further funding from 2016/17 onwards. For more information about GFirst LEP and the Growth Deal, please visit www.GFirstLEP.com.