Proposals to invest £580 million over the next 20 years to support clean and inclusive economic growth across the region were agreed at a public meeting held in Bristol City Hall on Friday 15 February.
- £350m for transport;
- £100m for homes;
- £80m for business;
- £50m for skills.
West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, said: “Working with our council partners, we are developing long-term investment schemes that will deliver on the region’s ambition for growth that benefits every resident. We plan to invest to improve transport and digital connections, support new homes and employment sites, help businesses to grow and thrive, and improve opportunities for residents through better skills and training. I have been working hard to raise the profile of our region with central government and as a result we have already secured over £180 million in extra funding from government – this is in addition to the £1 billion over 30 years agreed in the devolution deal.”
In transport, plans for investing £350m include:
- Improving transport connections to support more homes and business growth;
- Rail improvements, including MetroWest, and investment into infrastructure / stations;
- Mass transit – exploring new, sustainable public transport alternatives;
- Improving and extending bus routes (including metrobus);
- Investing in park and rides alongside alterations to roads to reduce traffic volume
- A range of schemes to encourage more people to walk and cycle;
- Investing in digital infrastructure.
£100m funding for homes will be prioritised to:
- Delivering ambitions set out in the region’s Joint Spatial Plan and Joint Local Transport Plan;
- Targeted intervention to unlock and to speed up house-building, such as buying land for new housing or investing in infrastructure upfront to enable development.
Business funding of £80m will be targeted at:
- Providing strategic employment locations, supporting Enterprise Areas and promoting new strategic sites;
- Supporting businesses in geographical areas of greatest need to unlock growth, and encourage inward investment;
- Developing skills for future business requirements in key sectors;
- Digital investment to boost business opportunities.
Proposals for skills will see £50m invested in:
- Helping specific groups, with low skills who are not working, to develop their skills;
- Working with education and skills providers to ensure they meet the needs of local businesses and make training more accessible to all
- Developing careers advice service and increasing apprenticeship opportunities.
The Combined Authority is chaired by the Regional Mayor, Tim Bowles, and is made up of the leaders and Mayor from its three member councils – Bath & North East Somerset (Leader, Cllr Tim Warren), Bristol City Council (Mayor Marvin Rees) and South Gloucestershire Council (Leader, Cllr Toby Savage). The Chair of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Professor Steve West, also attends committee meetings.