Culture Secretary Sajid Javid MP was in Telford today to announce a £7.7m extension to the Marches LEP’s £75.3 million Growth Deal. The funding will support the roll-out of superfast broadband across the region.
The extension, which brings the LEP’s deal with Government to £83 million, was part of a swathe of announcements of further funding for the UK’s 39 LEP regions.
The LEP has also received a commitment from the Government to support the partnership’s Higher Education priorities in the Marches.
Mr Javid formally announced the extra £7.7m when he met with LEP Board members, local authority partners and broadband project leaders earlier today. He also heard from Shrewsbury businessman Rollo Rigby, of Severn Partnership, about the difference being broadband-enabled has made to the productivity of his company.
Mr Javid said: “Today we are hearing about the information super highway and that’s somewhere Government has a role. In areas where the commercial sector hasn’t rolled out broadband, either at all or not fast enough, that’s where the Government can get involved.
“This is £7.7m from the Local Growth Fund which will help bring superfast broadband to over 39,000 residences and businesses across the region, and help generate at least 500 new jobs.
“I think that underestimates the instant difference the rollout will make to existing businesses, not to mention the start-ups which can happen on the back of this investment.”
Welcoming the Secretary of State to Telford, Leader of Telford & Wrekin Council and LEP Board Member Kuldip Sahota said: “We are progressing with major projects supported in our initial Growth Deal signed earlier this month. The first year includes major road schemes in Telford and Hereford, opening up key employment and housing sites.
“But today’s announcement marks the extension to the official funding which supports another key priority, the rollout of superfast broad across the Marches.”
Mr Javid’s visit followed comments from Prime Minister David Cameron about the Growth Deals, saying the funding was giving local communities the power and the money to unlock growth and development.