Business Secretary: 'I'll personally negotiate Grimsby's £36m regeneration deal'
Business Secretary Greg Clark, pictured in the Humber in 2013, is understood to be a strong supporter of the town deal in Whitehall (Image: Rob Stebbing)
By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 14 Jun 2018
“I will come and negotiate it myself” – that was the promise the Business Secretary has made regarding Grimsby’s multi-million pound town deal.
Grimsby politicians and business leaders put together a major regeneration plan last summer designed to boost the region’s economy by £216 million a year – but the plan is looking for a £36m Government grant to get the ball rolling.
Business Secretary Greg Clark promises Melanie Onn MP he will personally negotiate the Grimsby town regeneration deal
Delegates from the Greater Grimsby Partnership Board – the public and private sector team backing the bid – were told by ministers three months ago that negotiations would resume on the town deal after the May local council elections.
Grimsby MP Melanie Onn questioned the Business Secretary about the town's regeneration deal
Melanie Onn, Labour MP for the town, confronted Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, in the House of Commons on Tuesday to ask him what his “number one initiative” was to ensure the regeneration plans move from “theory to reality”.
The Cabinet minister replied saying he would be taking a trip to Grimsby to ensure personally that the deal gets done.
“I will come and sit down with Grimsby and Cleethorpes leaders to negotiate it myself,” he said.
Mr Clark, in a separate exchange with Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers, confirmed his trip to North East Lincolnshire would take place “soon”.
“I know this deal is close to [Mr Vickers'] heart and that of his constituency neighbour [Ms Onn],” the Tunbridge Wells MP said.
“I have made a commitment to come to Cleethorpes and, I dare say, Grimsby, to help with that negotiation. I look forward to doing so soon.”
The public show of support for getting the deal over the line is further proof that the Business Secretary is a leading proponent of the town deal in Whitehall.
Mr Clark is understood to have faced opposition from the Treasury when he revealed plans for mentioning the Grimsby town deal in the Government’s industrial strategy document in November but pushed it through regardless.
North East Lincolnshire Council is hopeful ministers will approve the town deal as a pilot and use it as an investment model which could be rolled out in areas with similar population sizes and demographics.
The Greater Grimsby Town Deal, revealed earlier this year, is included in the Industrial Strategy, launched this morning by the Prime Minister
The 10-year deal – which has cross-party backing at Grimsby Town Hall – is an upgrade scheme aiming to breathe new life into Grimsby’s waterways and docks.
It plans to create educational and leisure opportunities, with long-term targets of establishing 5,400 further jobs and building 7,700 homes, as well as adding £216m a year to the local economy.
The Greater Grimsby Partnership Board – the public and private sector team behind the ambitions – wants to match private and NELC investment with a grant of £36m from Government, paid over 5 years, to make the regeneration a reality.
During a meeting in March with NEL’s two MPs and town deal board members, ministers said they wanted to see a prospectus outlining firm details for what the town deal would entail by April, with talks regarding public investment scheduled for June.
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