INFRASTRUCTURE schemes designed to help drive the post-Covid-19 economic recovery in the West Midlands have been awarded £66million of government funding.
The money, from the government’s Getting Building Fund, is in response to a list the region submitted two weeks ago of ‘shovel ready’ schemes that can get underway within 18 months and get the local economy quickly moving again.
A separate £8million funding pot, which has also been confirmed by housing minister Robert Jenrick, will be allocated to Warwickshire.
The list put forward by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), Coventry and Warwickshire LEP, Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP, and the Black Country LEP covers a wide range of schemes including new railway stations and other transport infrastructure, 5G, digital and technology-based projects, life sciences and urban renewal.
The WMCA will now work with the three LEPs to send a finalised list of schemes back to the government.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “This latest announcement means the West Midlands has now received £150m of Government funding in the space of just three days as we look to re-boot our regional economy from the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Infrastructure investment is going to be key to our economy bouncing back quickly from this crisis, and this new £66m funding means we can now press ahead, and in some cases accelerate, a number of important infrastructure schemes for the region.”
The latest funding comes days after £84million was awarded to the WMCA to unlock more derelict industrial land for housing.
A week previously, the region also submitted to government a £3.2billion blueprint to kickstart the West Midlands economy and create long-term prosperity for the region and wider UK.
In awarding the funding, Mr Jenrick said he was pleased by the number of innovative and deliverable projects put forward by the region.
He also asked for the Mayor to lead and coordinate discussions with the WMCA Board and the three LEP chairs to agree a single prioritised list of projects.
Nick Abell, interim chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), said: “We represent the interests of Coventry and Warwickshire and while we welcome the ring-fenced £8million for Warwickshire, we will strongly be putting forward the case to government for infrastructure projects for Coventry – knowing that together they will serve our area and its economic geography in the best way possible.”
Tim Pile, chair of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP (GBSLEP), said: “Confirmation of this funding for the region, in response to the huge challenges we are facing, is very positive news.
“This funding will immediately unlock projects ready to start in the next few months and provide an urgent stimulus to the economy, creating new job and new business opportunities which help accelerate our region’s recovery.
“We look forward to continuing our close collaboration with neighbouring LEPs and the WMCA to ensure the entire region receives maximum benefit from this welcome injection of funds.”