Williams Welcomes Extra £18m for Bristol and the West

The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is in Bristol this morning (29th Jan) to announce that the Government has agreed with the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership to an expansion to its Growth Deal, which will see an extra £18.1m invested in the West of England between 2016 and 2021. This is in addition to the £212.6m of funding committed by the Government on 7 July 2014.  

Over the lifetime of its Deal (2015-2021) the Local Enterprise Partnership estimates that up to 6,000 new jobs could be created and that it has the potential to generate £200m public and private investment.

The proposed projects in the deal include developing Engine Shed Phase 2 in Bristol to meet the high demand for more space for business incubation, offices for businesses to grow into, as well as meeting and collaboration space. Engine Shed is home to, amongst others, a university business incubator which was recently judged to be the best in Europe and second best in the world.

Subject to the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership approving a full business case, the Local Growth Fund could help to fund the delivery of the Bristol Aerospace Centre, an aerospace museum showcasing Bristol’s innovation, design and engineering past, present and future.

Speaking about the expansion of growth deals, Nick Clegg said:

“A quiet revolution is underway in Bristol and across the country, and Growth Deals signal the end of the culture where Whitehall calls the shots. I’ve seen for myself the difference it makes to give local areas real power over skills, over business support, and over infrastructure spending.

“The Coalition Government has been relentless in our efforts to sort out the public finances and set firm foundations for growth. Growth Deals help create a stronger economy and a fairer society by boosting local economies, and providing more jobs, better transport and affordable homes.”

Stephen Williams, Liberal Democrat MP for Bristol West, said:

“I am delighted that Nick is today announcing this funding for Bristol and the South West. It will create thousands of new jobs and involve hundreds of organisations and businesses.

“This is further evidence that the Liberal Democrats in government are investing in businesses across the country and I look forward to seeing the results of the Growth Deals in Bristol.”


 1. How much is the Government investing in the West of England as part of the Growth Deal?


Initial Growth Deal (July 2014)

January 2015 Total additional funding awarded

Total Expanded Growth Deal

Local Growth Fund





2.  What proposed projects will this new tranche of funding deliver?

The additional funding will deliver the following projects:

  • Engine Shed 2 - more incubation and grow on space for high tech companies under the SETsquared model.  
  • Superfast Broadband Extension Programme - provision of open access ducting and a voucher scheme to support the roll out of Superfast Broadband across the West of England area.
  • Local Pinch Point Schemes – delivery of 3 schemes which will address congestion hotspots and provide new and improved access to key economic sites.

Subject to the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership approving a full business case this Local Growth Fund could help to fund the delivery of:

  • Bath Innovation Phase 2 – the provision of incubator and grow on space for high-tech and creative and digital media businesses.
  • Bristol and Bath Science Park Grow On Space phase 1 - expansion of Bristol and Bath Science Park, providing grow on space including hybrid workshop, and wet and dry labs.
  • Food & Drink Technology Centre phase 1 - A Centre of Excellence for Food and Drink Industries which brings together expertise ranging from biotechnology to engineering; chemistry to design that strives to excel in food research, production, manufacturing and resource efficiency.
  • IAero – Advanced Technology Centre phase 1 - working collaboratively with a broad range of global aerospace customers and suppliers to establish an Advanced Technology virtual Centre.
  • Quantum Technologies Hub – transforming pioneering research at the University of Bristol and the city-region’s successful semiconductor companies into commercial opportunities.
  • Local Pinch Point transport schemes – provision of new and improved highway infrastructure, more efficient network management.
  • Bristol Aerospace Centre - Aerospace museum which will showcase Bristol’s innovation, design and engineering past, present and future linked to  learning and outreach opportunities aimed at inspiring school children to take up STEM subjects.
  • Bristol and Bath Cultural Destinations Media Bank - Will enable the tourism and cultural sector to deposit and withdraw images, audio and video material from a media bank.


This adds to the projects that were announced in July 2014, including:

  • Bristol Robotics Institute of Technology – start-up and grow-on space to facilitate industry and academic collaboration in robotics and autonomous systems, bio-sensing and biotechnology, biomedical and other related fields
  • Terabit West - a research and development testbed infrastructure for projects relating to Smart Cities, Software Defined Networks, Internet of Things and Big Data. 
  • Innovation in composites for marine energy – provision of a new test centre to provide development testing and accreditation for new tidal blade models and dynamic testing capability
  • Composite Bridge Construction – the application of new technology to develop an advanced composite footbridge design solution that could be efficiently and economically used in a variety of locations
  • MetroWest Phase 1 and 2 – reopening the Portishead and Henbury rail lines
  • Sustainable Transport Programme – transport capital measures to make it easier to walk, cycle, and travel by public transport
  • FE capital build programme – investment to create new and improved space to deliver skills to provide opportunities for our workforce and better meet our business needs.


3. How does this benefit the people of the West of England?

The Growth Deal will promote growth in the West of England through the creation of new jobs and opportunities for investors and the workforce with a focus on local priority sectors including high tech industries, creative, advanced engineering, low carbon and professional services. The Deal will support development and will help reduce congestion and make it quicker and easier to travel around the West of England.

According to estimates by the LEP the Growth Deal could bring to the West of England:

  • Up to 6,000 Jobs
  • Up to £200m public and private sector investment
  • And help to deliver 11,500 new homes

4. What is the benefit for local businesses?

As well as much needed transport improvements, the new Growth Deal funding provides the opportunity to invest over £10m additional funding to create new space for business incubation and facilities for businesses to grow-on and into. The Deal will also provide additional funding towards increasing access to Superfast Broadband.


5. Facts and figures

The Growth Deal builds on significant investments in growth opportunities in the West of England including:

Revolving Infrastructure Fund (Regional Growth Fund and Growing Places Fund) total allocation: £56m

Enterprise Zone:  £6 million

University Enterprise Zone £4.5m

The City Deal will see the West of England invest its own resources in critical infrastructure projects that will maximise growth. In return, the West of England will retain 100% of business rate growth in five Enterprise Areas for 25 years. This business rate income will be pooled and pumped into a £1 billion Economic Development Fund which will be used to invest in growth projects.

Regional Growth Fund: West of England LEP area has to date received £74.7m investment from the Regional Growth Fund, and could also benefit from £1.9m invested in neighbouring LEPs.

Coastal Communities Fund: £982,429

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