£66m grant to boost ‘shovel-ready’ schemes in the West Midlands

More than £60 million in new funding has been granted to the West Midlands to help it kick start ‘shovel-ready’ regeneration projects.

The capital has come from the Government’s Getting Building Fund, with up to £66 million being made available to the region.

It comes in response to a recently submitted list of infrastructure schemes that can be under way within 18 months while a separate £8 million funding pot will be allocated to Warwickshire.

The list of schemes was put forward by the West Midlands Combined Authority and local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) in Greater Birmingham and Solihull, the Black Country and Coventry and Warwickshire.

They cover a wide range of schemes including new railway stations, such as in Darlaston and Moseley, along with other transport infrastructure, 5G, digital and technology-based projects, life sciences and urban renewal.

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The combined authority will now work with the three LEPs to send a finalised list of schemes back to the Government.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: “This latest announcement means the West Midlands has now received £150 million of Government funding in the space of just three days as we look to reboot 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.

“This new £66 million 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 follows the Prime Minister’s ‘New Deal’ announcement in Dudley last week which included £84 million for the combined authority to unlock more derelict industrial land for housing.

Two weeks ago, the region also submitted to the Government a £3.2 billion blueprint to kickstart the West Midlands’ economy and create long-term prosperity for the region and wider UK.

Coun Ian Brookfield, leader of City of Wolverhampton Council and economu chief at the combined authority, added: “The impact of covid-19 has been unimaginable and unprecedented.

“Before the pandemic struck, major regeneration projects were making good progress and we had a strong portfolio of schemes in the pipeline.

“It is critical to the region’s economic recovery that we bolster these projects financially and get our ‘shovel ready’ schemes moving swiftly.

“This funding will help us to do that, also delivering much-needed jobs and attracting further investment.”