Huge investment plan to boost Halesowen and Rowley Regis

7:50am Wednesday 18th December 2013

HALESOWEN and Rowley Regis looks set to benefit from a new deal which is expected to lead to £130 million of business investment.

It is hoped the landmark agreement will create 5,800 manufacturing jobs over the next four years.

The City Deal includes a £30 million Black Country Investment Fund offering cheap loans to help develop key industrial sites through cheap loans.

It also features a £3.1 million Black Country Growth Factory to help local manufacturing to access national business support services and £18 million of investment by employers in the high value manufacturing sector to create more than 1,500 additional apprenticeships.

There will also be a programme to help 2,800 long-term unemployed social housing tenants into work.

The deal, between the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, Government and councils, will lead to the regeneration of brownfield sites across the Black Country.

It has been welcomed by Halesowen and Rowley Regis MP James Morris, who is chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Local Growth, Local Enterprise Partnerships and Enterprise Zones.

The announcement came the day after he had spoken at Prime Minister’s Questions, highlighting positive news for local jobs, apprenticeships and manufacturing output as evidence that the local economy is growing stronger.

Mr Morris said: “We have a proud industrial heritage in the Black Country but, even before the last recession, the economy in Dudley and Sandwell had fallen further behind the national average and fewer people were employed in private sector.

“If we are going to deliver the jobs and growth that our local communities deserve then we have to transform our economy by ensuring that local people have the world class skills that they need.

“This new deal is a vital step towards making that possible and I am delighted that the Government has given us this fantastic early Christmas present.”

Cities minister Greg Clark predicted the deal would put the Black Country in a prime position to take advantage of the recovery as the economy turns the corner.

He added: “This City Deal is a landmark achievement. It puts the levers of power firmly into the hands of Wolverhampton, Walsall, Dudley, Sandwell and the whole region, so that everyone can benefit from real, local economic growth.

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