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MP calls on government to open negotiations on 'Massive economic package for Cumbria'

January 7, 2014 4:04 PM

Tim in WestminsterSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has today written to the Government asking for them to start negotiations with Cumbria County Council for a 'County Deal'.

The 'county deal' is based on the city deals offered to major conurbations in the UK. Last year Tim proposed the idea that Cumbria becomes a 'County Deal' area.

Today at Deputy Prime Ministers Questions, Nick Clegg was asked if the Government would extend the "city deal" programme to rural areas. Clegg said: 'City deals have brought significant benefits. I would like to see the benefits of city deals extended to rural areas.'

The government is giving England's cities new powers and freedoms through City Deals. Tim wants the same for Cumbria. City Deals are agreements between the Government and a city's local authority, which give the city the power to:

  • take charge of decisions that affect their area
  • do what they think is best to help businesses grow
  • create economic growth
  • decide how public money should be spent
In December the latest tranche of city deals were agreed by the Government. In the North West, Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire have applied jointly for a deal. It will allow Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire to take forward four new road schemes, enabling over 17,000 new homes to be built, freeing up land for new development, and creating more than 20,000 jobs.

To secure a deal with Government, each area has to show in their proposal for growth that it:

  • can prove how it will take greater responsibility and leadership with decisions affecting its local economy
  • will use the advice, expertise, and resources of the private sector
  • is dedicated and ready to put resources into the deal
  • has plans for using public money wisely
  • can improve its area by following the government's strategy of lowering regulation, boosting private sector growth, and making it easier for businesses to grow

Tim said: "This Deputy Prime Minster's answer is very welcome and is another step to making this plan a reality. Giving power to communities will really unlock the economic potential of our county and will make a massive difference. I believe it will be worth hundreds of millions and could create many jobs.

"I have written to the Government to ask them to open negotiations with the council to allow us to formally bid to be the first rural area to get this status."