A lucrative £50M government deal that will transform parts of Portsmouth and Southampton was signed by civic and business leaders at the Spinnaker Tower today.
The City Deal unlocks Ministry of Defence land for a nominal fee around Tipner and Horsea Island, potentially allowing development worth £831 million.
WestQuay shopping centre will be expanded and a £5.8m skills package will be created for 1,000 people who have been out of work for a long time.
For major development work to happen, the government grant needs to be matched with private sector funding, though it’s expected to attract up to £1bn in investment.
Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock said: ‘it’s a great day for Portsmouth and South Hampshire generally.’
The announcement comes just days after Portsmouth learned that 940 jobs would be lost following defence giant BAE Systems’ decision to end shipbuilding in the city.
The Southampton and Portsmouth city deal sees the two traditional rivals come together to take up extra powers and responsibilities, aimed at creating more than 17,000 jobs.
A £1 million Department for Work and Pensions rapid response service will support those recently made redundant and £5 million from the Regional Growth Fund will be used to support training for BAE staff facing redundancy.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: ‘It is more important than ever for Portsmouth and Southampton’s economic recovery that Whitehall hands over power to local people who can decide how to invest millions of pounds and build a stronger economy in the region.
‘The deal will help to create thousands of vital new jobs in the region, and every effort is being made, both in Government and at a local level, to help the local area through a time of uncertainty.
‘We have moved swiftly, shoulder to shoulder with local councils and businesses, to get this landmark deal signed so that Portsmouth and Southampton can reap the benefits quickly. I would like to thank and congratulate local government and business leaders in the area for straining every sinew to make the city deal happen.’