Jobs and training boost in £1.4bn deal

Peter Box after announcing budget proposals' 'LOCATION:  Wakefield Town Hall

Peter Box after announcing budget proposals' 'LOCATION: Wakefield Town Hall

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AN academy for apprentices will open as part of a £1.4bn deal to create jobs and get all young people into work.

The city will get its share of a £5m investment into ‘apprenticeship hubs’ which will encourage businesses to take on thousands of new apprentices during the next few years.

Joanne Roney after announcing budget proposals' 'LOCATION:  Wakefield Town Hall

Joanne Roney after announcing budget proposals' 'LOCATION: Wakefield Town Hall

It is part of a deal struck between the government and the Leeds City Region partnership (LCR) in March, to make sure every person aged 24 or under is in work, education or 
training.

And the deal, which will be discussed by Wakefield Council’s cabinet committee on Tuesday, also promises thousands of new jobs and an improved transport system.

Coun Peter Box, leader of Wakefield Council and chair of Leeds City Leaders’ Board, said: “Our focus will be on skills and transport, key areas that underpin our local economy. I want to see thousands of new opportunities created for the young unemployed and for entrepreneurs to start up business, backed up by a transport system that will boost the growth of jobs, output and 
productivity.

“This deal gives us both the powers and access to finance to act quicker and create more jobs, support businesses to grow, cut through red-tape and make sure everyone of working age is in education, employment or training.”

The cabinet report said Wakefield would get its share of a £400m pot, funded partly by the government and partly by LCR during the next 10 years, to be spent on projects which would create jobs and improve skills.

A £1bn transport fund, also jointly funded, will be spent on improving rail links with Manchester and other major transport projects.

A West Yorkshire Combined Authority, made up of 11 councils from across the region, will be created by April next year to manage future investments.

Joanne Roney, chief executive of Wakefield Council, said: “We will work in partnership with the private sector, Leeds City Council and other neighbouring authorities to access resources and deliver our own local jobs and growth plan, simplifying access to funding for skills, transport and green business opportunities.”

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg called for cities to come forward with ambitious proposals in a report called Unlocking Growth in Cities last year.

And eight deals have now been struck.