Council unearths £20m to help create city jobs
A £20MILLION fighting fund has been created to boost economic growth and create jobs in Plymouth.
The fund will be used to drive projects which the city council hopes will create about 2,000 jobs over the next two years.
Council leader Tudor Evans said: "We want to change our city for the better. We can't just sit back and expect others to do it – we need to be at the heart of change, and this £20 million investment proves we are prepared to do that.
"Time and again people have told us that creating jobs and strengthening our economy is their top priority."
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The Plan for Jobs was launched last month as a response to the economic downturn and the impact of Government cuts.
The Building for Jobs investment fund has been pulled together by selling city assets, diverting money from other projects, grants and other contributions.
Cllr Evans said: "The need to create jobs is quite simply the most important issue we face at the moment, which is why we are prepared to commit resources to schemes that can provide work for people and help the city to carry on growing.
"We launched our Plan for Jobs with the promise to do all we can to prevent unemployment from blighting so many people in this city and we are prepared to prioritise resources into projects that will deliver this."
The fund needs to be able to invest in property that will stimulate businesses to start or expand.
It will also be used as match funding to unlock more substantial funds and to bridge the viability gap where infrastructure projects are stalled.
After the initial capital outlay, the project will bring in a long-term income.
A council spokeswoman said examples could include building business premises – such as office units at Langage – or setting up managed work spaces and enterprise hubs or start-up businesses.
Other examples would be road or other infrastructure that would open up planned development.
The capital investment could also be used to help unlock stalled housing development and create construction and supply chain jobs as a result or help to deliver the city's Visitor Plan by investing in digital and physical infrastructure for the "Telling Stories" project.
Most of the money will be used for infrastructure investment, but £500,000 is being made available to support the Plan for Jobs projects. This includes creating the city's first multi-sector apprentice training agency.
Cllr Evans said: "This could have a significant impact on our economy.
"Not only does it strengthen the city's case for external funding, but by taking such a proactive approach it shows business and investors that we mean business."
Any organisation or company hoping for support would be expected to spell out in detail the number of jobs created and value for money of their proposal.
The council has brought forward the sale of housing sites to help fund the project.
Government grants have freed up about £6million which had been allocated to the council's Materials Recovery Facility and support for nursery places for two-year-olds.