Leader of Worcestershire County Council 'nervous' over £280m growth bid ahead of Monday verdict (From Evesham Journal)
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Leader of Worcestershire County Council 'nervous' over £280m growth bid ahead of Monday verdict
THE leader of Worcestershire County Council has admitted he is "extremely nervous" about a £280 million bid for Government cash - as D-day draws ever closer.
It comes as your Worcester News can reveal how an announcement from Whitehall over Worcestershire's biggest ever funding bid is due to be made public on Monday.
Back in April Worcestershire was invited to bid for fresh Government investment worth £2 billion a year - and in July a detailed 180-page dossier was sent to ministers asking for £280 million, which if successful would create 25,000 jobs by 2025.
It includes £63 million to dual the A4440 Carrington Bridge, £14 million towards improving careers services for young people, £50 million on M5 entrance improvements, £4 million towards better flood protection, broadband coverage and water supplies, funding for 1,000 new apprenticeships and an extra £4 million to develop Pershore College to make it a national centre of excellence for rural innovation.
There are more than 50 different projects in total which have formed the county's bid.
Cllr Hardman says he believes ministers will tell each of the UK's 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships how they got on for the first 2015/16 funding round next week.
"It appears that the results are going to be announced on (Monday) July 7th or around that date," he said.
"While we have been lobbying Government hard, I'm starting to become extremely nervous on the outcome of this and the delivery of cash into the county from Government.
"Certainly our MPs were flagging up that we were probably going to be successful in some areas but not in others.
"I think this will cause us to re-visit our 'open for business' agenda and in the autumn decide what is affordable and what isn't."
His comments were recently circulated to Tory councillors at County Hall ahead of the announcement.
Cllr Hardman told your Worcester News he has done his "utmost" to try and secure a good slice of the Government pie.
"We've been determined with this plan and all we can do now is wait and see," he said.
"It's the LEP's plan but we've been wholly supportive of it."
Peter Pawsey, chairman of the county's LEP, met Prime Minister David Cameron in Manchester three months ago to lobby him on it.