Duncan has been campaigning in Westminster in support of Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP)’s City Deals bid.
The City Deals scheme is designed to unlock the economic potential of local communities and should benefit Wiltshire towns, Chippenham and Corsham as well as Swindon and Salisbury.
Keen to find out if the outcome of the City Deals bidding process would be announced soon, Duncan asked Greg Clark, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, on 29th January what progress the department was making on the second wave of City Deals. Mr Clark indicated that the department has received 20 bids and will be announcing the decision shortly.
One of the most impressive innovations of the SWLEP bid has been the importance placed on securing benefits for both urban and rural communities alike. On 24th January, Duncan asked the rural economies minister, Richard Benyon, if he had seen the SWLEP bid, and whether he considered it a worthy blueprint for other rural economies. The Minister said:
“I am really impressed with what is happening in Swindon and Wiltshire, and I want to use it as a model around the country.”
Duncan will be meeting soon with Richard Benyon to discuss this further and has invited the South Swindon and Salisbury MPs to join him for the meeting, to put forward the case for agreeing a deal for Wiltshire and Swindon.
Making better use of the area’s redundant Ministry of Defence estate is a key part of the SWLEP bid and on 7th February, Duncan asked the Business Minister, Michael Fallon, if he would advise his colleagues who are considering the City Deals bids to recognise that disused Ministry of Defence sites offer the potential for brownfield development and, with it, new jobs for the area.
“I am determined to play my part in building a stronger economy in Wiltshire, and am pleased to be able to throw my weight behind such an innovative bid from the Local Enterprise Partnership in Parliament.
“A City Deal for Wiltshire and Swindon could unlock the funding to bring a university campus to our part of Wiltshire.”