Birmingham & Black Country

Jobs promised in latest City Deal in Black Country

More than 5,000 jobs and 1,500 apprenticeships could be created in the Black Country over the next four years under a Government scheme.

The City Deal will bring about £130m of private investment to Wolverhampton, Walsall, Dudley and Sandwell, a government spokesman said.

The scheme gives councils and business leaders more control over how money is spent locally.

A Black Country Investment Fund will also help develop industrial sites.

It will be be able to borrow up to £20m from the government at a discounted rate, and the four local authorities will invest £10m.

'Walk the walk'

The jobs and apprenticeships will be created in manufacturing, and 2,800 long-term unemployed people in the four areas will receive "intensive support" to help them find a job, the spokesman said.

The first wave of City Deals with the eight largest English cities was finalised in September 2012.

The government devolves powers to local authorities in exchange for responsibility for delivering growth locally.

Professor David Bailey, from Aston Business School in Birmingham, said the deal was a welcome one but did not go far enough.

He said: "We can judge its success on the jobs they say will be created... but there has been a hotch-potch of government initiatives like this, but they haven't really been joined up.

"The government has talked the talk but have yet to walk the walk locally."

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