The Cheshire and Warrington local enterprise partnership, which includes Macclesfield, is developing a proposal for its local growth deal. This deal will enable the area to agree freedoms and flexibilities to support the drive to devolve power and resources, including access to funding from the local growth fund, which is worth at least £12 billion over the next five years.
I welcome the Government’s plans to devolve further powers to LEPs and I welcome the funding, which is vitally important, but what steps are the Government taking to work closely with the Cheshire and Warrington LEP and the taskforce at the AstraZeneca site at Alderley Park to ensure that there is a locally based strategy for the future of life sciences in north-east Cheshire?
That is precisely what the local growth deal provides the opportunity to do. I pay tribute to my hon. Friend and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, my right hon. Friend Mr Osborne, for their assiduity in making sure that AstraZeneca in particular has maintained its commitment to Cheshire and to the north-west, securing 300 jobs just in recent weeks. I expect this to be at the heart of the deal that is proposed by the LEP.