Ipswich: City Deal signed to bring new jobs to the area

The City Deal was launched at UCS.

The City Deal was launched at UCS. - Credit: Archant

The new deal to bring jobs and training opportunities to greater Ipswich was formally signed at the town’s University Campus Suffolk (UCS) yesterday.

The day after the deal was formally ratified in London by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, it was brought to Ipswich to be endorsed by council and business leaders alongside the government’s Cities Minister Greg Clark. The area covered by the City Deal is much larger than Ipswich itself – it covers a population of more than 400,000 and aims to improve training, apprenticeships, and job opportunities for young people.

At the formal signing ceremony Mr Clark said: “Ipswich and Suffolk made us an offer we could not refuse. “This is one of the first City Deals to be approved and it is one of the most exciting.”

The government is handing over about £4million to a partnership which will aim to get about 3,500 young people into work and create 5,000 apprenticeships by 2019.

At the signing ceremony in the Waterfront building, Mr Clark said the presence of high-technology companies in the area should give the project a kick-start. He said: “The government is very excited by this deal. Coming to the Waterfront in Ipswich you can see what fantastic potential there is here.”

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer said the City Deal offered the area the prospect of a “German-style” industrial base. “This is the kind of thing that is so successful there – businesses and chambers of commerce take the lead in providing training,” he said.

And the scheme got cross-party support from Ipswich council’s Labour leader David Ellesmere – who hopes to take Mr Gummer’s job at the next general election. He said: “This l will help us tackle youth unemployment and give our children the skills they need now to do the jobs of the future.”

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Suffolk County Council leader Mark Bee said it was important to recognise the City Deal covered a wide area – including the technology hub at Adastral Park at Martlesham and businesses that were outside the borough boundary but employed thousands of people in a variety of industries.