David Cameron backs £53m Worcestershire cash injection

Prime Minister David Cameron says the Growth Fund is a fair deal for Worcestershire

Prime Minister David Cameron says the Growth Fund is a fair deal for Worcestershire

First published in News Evesham Journal: Tom Edwards Exclusive by , Political Reporter

DAVID Cameron has come out in support of Worcestershire's £53 million cash injection - after admitting the nation has been "too London-focused".

The Prime Minister has insisted the county's Growth Fund deal will mean "real change for Worcestershire" by delivering on some key projects.

As your Worcester News revealed yesterday, it includes finally building Worcestershire Parkway rail station, part-dualling of the A4440 Southern Link Road and £700,000 on flooding protection for New Road.

The Government will give the county £47 million over the next five years, with £6 million being added to the kitty from European funding.

Mr Cameron says despite Worcestershire bidding for £280 million, he believes the deal is fair.

"For too long our economy has been too London-focused and too centralised," he said.

"This historic deal means real change for Worcestershire with plans including better transport links to help people get to work and businesses to grow.

"It will also mean investment in skills such as engineering apprenticeships to give young people the skills they need to get on and ensure businesses in the Worcestershire have the workforce they need to prosper.

"By trusting local people, backing business and investing in infrastructure, skills and housing, we can create thousands of new jobs.

"That means more economic security, peace of mind and a brighter future for hardworking people across Worcestershire."

His defence comes after your Worcester News revealed how only eight of the 50 projects proposed for funding by Worcestershire's Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) will get any funding by 2019.

Other projects to get cash includes Worcester Technology Park, an expansion of Malvern Hills Science Park and £800,000 on vocational training and apprenticeships for young people.

The LEP's strategy is a 10-year one worth £280 million, with more cash expected from 2020 onwards.

Worcester MP Robin Walker said: "Of course we'd all like more money, but as a result of the funding we do have it means things we've been talking about for 20 or 30 years will now happen.

"On that basis it gives me far greater confidence than before that Worcestershire will get a fair deal.

"Under the old Regional Development Agency system so much funding for this region would go to Birmingham, and rural money would end up getting sucked by Herefordshire and Shropshire, so we'd get stuck in the middle.

"This is the start of situations like that changing and with the funds we have got, a great deal of key things can now be achieved such as parkway."

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