A new £25 million medical centre bringing together businesses and academics is to be built in Birmingham after Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg agreed to sign a “city deal” that could bring 10,800 jobs to the region.
But plans to improve transport links near Birmingham Airport, to ensure the region can make the most of the economic opportunities offered by high speed rail, have been put on hold.
The transport proposals were included in a bid submitted to the Government by Birmingham City Council and neighbouring authorities, along with Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, the business organisation chaired by John Lewis managing director Andy Street.
But these plans, which would include creating a new transport authority, have been put on ice and may be included in a “phase two” city dealt to be negotiated in the future.
However, Ministers have given the green light to a range of proposals which are designed to attract more than £15 billion of private sector investment to the region.
It follows months of negotiation between a team of ministers led by Mr Clegg, which also included Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles and Transport Secretary Justine Greening, and Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, representing Birmingham, Bromsgrove, Cannock Chase, East Staffordshire, Lichfield, Redditch, Solihull, Tamworth and Wyre Forest.
Birmingham City Council leader Sir Albert Bore, and his predecessor Mike Whitby, who led the authority until May this year, also helped lead negotiations.
Measures which have been approved include the creation of an Institute for Translational Medicine, which will have state-of-the-art clinical facilities and provide an international centre of excellence for businesses and academics in the healthcare sector, from small firms to international pharmaceutical companies.
The aim is to capitalise on Birmingham’s leading position in life sciences and its existing status as location for clinical trials.
The £25 million cost of building the institute will be met with a grant of at least £8 million from the government, with further funding from coming from Birmingham University and University Hospital Birmingham, the NHS trust which runs the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Edgbaston.
Other measures include the creation of a Greater Birmingham and Solihull investment bank, to be named GBS Finance, to manage the variety of government funding streams and grants designed to help the economy.
It is expected to manage public funds of £1.5 billion.
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