MPs hail Lancashire City Deal as catalyst for jobs and homes

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Local MPs are claiming that the newly signed Preston and Lancashire City Deal will help create jobs across the wider area.

County MPs attended Number 11 Downing Street on Thursday to witness the signing of the agreement, which promises to invest hundreds of millions of pounds into infrastructure in Preston, South Ribble and Central Lancashire.

It aims to create more than 20,000 new jobs – including 5,000 in the Lancashire Enterprise Zone, 17,420 new homes and deliver nearly £1bn in economic growth over ten years.

Ben Wallace, Conservative MP for Wyre and Preston North MP, said the deal was the Government “putting its money where its mouth is”.

He said: “The Government is keen to empower Preston and Lancashire to build on its great success in aerospace and other industries.

“The history of Preston is it’s reinvented and reinvested over the last 100 years, and that’s why it’s been more successful than other historical mill towns.

“The key is now to attract inward investment.

“We had a meeting with Edwin Booth and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership about finding new businesses to come into that, either from abroad or elsewhere in the UK, to take advantage of the new infrastructure we’re planning.”

Ribble Valley’s Conservative MP Nigel Evans added: “It’s great to see the local authorities and the Government working together with business, and so anyone who thinks that the North West is being ignored is completely wrong.

“The fruition of all this cooperation will result in thousands of new jobs and greater prosperity for our region.”

Mark Hendrick, Labour MP for Preston said: “It’s a tremendous day for Preston and Central Lancashire in general.

“Preston is perfectly located with roads and rail, north, south, east and west, an ideal place for businesses to invest, and we’re seeing that with more than 20 companies coming forward and saying they want to be part of the new Lancashire Enterprise Zone.

“The potential for new roads, new infrastructure generally, 20,000 new houses, and tens of thousands of new jobs is there.

“The Broughton Bypass, for example, has been talked about for decades - whether or not it was developed was contingent upon new housing in Whittingham.

“The fact it’s likely this new housing will go ahead means it makes a great deal of sense not only to feed this housing but also take the pressure off Broughton Roundabout, which causes many hours of misery for motorists.”

Mark Menzies, Conservative MP for Fylde, welcomed plans for a new train station at Cottam and a road link from the M55 to BAE at Warton.

He said: “This is about the Government and private sector working hand in hand to do the right thing for the people of Lancashire and ensure we’ve got jobs for the next generation.

“Hopefully this will see better transport links for people in the Preston travel to work area and having that station in Cottam will make it much easier for people to access public transport and connect to the rail network.”