Tuesday, 19 February 2013

City No Deal

A particularly interesting precedent today which shows how our local administration has its eye totally off the ball when it comes to influencing and lobbying in Westminster for resources for our area

Today the latest round of Wave 2 City Deals were announced by the government and included were most, if not all, the other simililarly sized Unitary Authority and equivalently sized urban areas including

  • Brighton and Hove
  • Cambridge 
  • Ipswich
  • Milton Keynes
  • Portsmouth 
  • Southampton
  • Plymouth
  • Reading
  • Southend
  • Swindon 
  • Bournemouth
  • Poole

City Deals are viewed as a core strategy to focus resouces on local economic development, along with other  key initiatives,  including Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), Local Transport Bodies,  Enterprise Zones/Areas, Growing Places, Business Rates retention, amongst  others. 

These Deals are about unclocking economic potential and issues surrounding regeneration and provide the Local Authority with more designated powers to manage their own local budgets

From my sources many in government have not been impressed by how the Tories have mismanaged our area since 2003. 

Unlike the other areas designated Medway still lacks a 'USP' or Unique Selling Point for business investment and that has been ongoing since the Tories took over the Council in the early 2000s. 

Indeed since 2003 Medway has lost some private sector investment; just look at the empty Pentagon Centre and Mountbatten House have become. We have a few call centres on Gillingham business park but we are not considered a centre of excellence for anything. 

It is part of the reason why growing a green collar economy for me could be something to pursue in the future because their is economic opportunity given our manufacturing history  

Medway should be focused on winning bids and economic potential; where were we on Portas pilots? Where are we on Enterprize Zones? Where is the lobbying for small business support? It is a lack of ambition in Gun Wharf from an administration which is woefully out of touch. We should be lobbying lobbying lobbying and never stopping. Never take no for an answer when it comes to jobs and growth.

Once again the Conservative government has let down our residents in Medway; when people are struggling for jobs it is simply a smack in the face that we have been overlooked. 

Was it a lack of influence in Whitehall? Almost certainly so. 

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