Coventry and Warwickshire City Deal

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:13 pm on 14th February 2013.

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Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark The Financial Secretary to the Treasury 5:13 pm, 14th February 2013

My hon. Friend accurately reflects the difference between places. In some places the pressing need is for infrastructure because they have a legacy of infrastructure that is not fit for purpose, that has been made redundant and out of date. In other places the need is to supply the skills. That is the beauty of the bid programme.

Let me say a little about the second wave of city deals. Following the success of the eight initial city deals, I was very keen that the programme should be spread to other cities and areas around the country, so we have issued an invitation to 20 more areas to make a proposition to the Government. It is important to emphasise at this stage that these are expressions of interest and will be evaluated as such. It is not the final word. Those that are invited to go forward will be asked to engage intensively with me and my officials so that we can shape a proposition that can then be put to my ministerial colleagues for approval. There will be some way to go in those negotiations. It is right to remind people locally as well as in the Chamber that this is not the last word. It is an important expression of interest, but it has a further way to go.

We have said that there is no limit on the number of city deals that we will be able to conclude. For all those expressions of interest that demonstrate potential, my ambition is that we should be able to take them forward and achieve something important with them. Having spoken in Coventry with the leaders whom my hon. Friend the Member for Warwick and Leamington mentions,

I think it important that we take advantage of the focus on advanced manufacturing and on skills, and the benefit of important institutions such as the Manufacturing Technology Centre and the motor industry research centre being located there.

The prospect that is held out is for 5,000 high quality engineering jobs. I can think of no finer contribution that my hon. Friend, following his advocacy today, could give to his constituents than to inject that into the future of his economy. Without pre-empting the announcement that will be made shortly, I congratulate him on his excellent support for a very encouraging bid.

Question put and agreed to.

House adjourned.