The News writes to ministers to highlight the importance of the region securing £300m

The funding could help relieve traffic on the M27
The funding could help relieve traffic on the M27
Giles Babb, landord of The Blue Bell

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THE News has renewed its call on ministers to say yes to the crucial £300m deal that will ensure the region reaps success.

Across the last week, we have run a series of features from political and business leaders about the importance of the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) bid for the cash from government.

The money will help pay for improved transport links to future major employment sites, giving companies the confidence to relocate in those areas and create more jobs.

And in return that will mean more developers will come forward and create new homes to a high standard for growing workforces. Now The News has sent an open letter to government officials Lord Heseltine and ministers Greg Clark, Robert Goodwill and Kris Hopkins who will decide whether the Solent LEP will be successful.

We have also sent them electronic copies of the published articles to show there is widespread support from across our communities for the application.

We hope the submitted documents will help convince officials that while there are LEPs bidding for cash all over the country, it needs to give the Solent group what it is asking for.

Solent LEP director Sean Woodward said: ‘I applaud The News for the effort it has put into this.

‘What sending these things off does is show the government that there is widespread political and business support for the ambitions and intentions of the Solent LEP.’

The LEP anticipates the cash would unlock more than £2bn in private investment.

It wants to use the first £90m of the £300m it has bid for to improve connections to the Gosport peninsula and create an improved junction 10 on the M27.

An announcement is expected imminently.

An excerpt of the letter written by editor of The News, Mark Waldron, to Lord Heseltine, Greg Clark, Kris Hopkins and Robert Goodwill in an effort to emphasis the need for the £300m deal to be secured:

‘We were delighted this week with the government’s announcement of £7.5m funding towards Sir Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup in Portsmouth. This is a tremendous boost to the local economy. But it should not be thought that the Solent region is not in need of further financial assistance as the growth of south Hampshire is already lagging behind the rest of the south-east of England, which is seen as the ‘powerhouse’ of the UK economy.

And as Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt said this week following the Ainslie announcement, we have the momentum, but now we need the money to make the bigger picture happen.

Our articles this week have been run under the banner of ‘Say Yes, Ministers’.

And that is what we are hoping to hear from you in the coming days.’