Hull asks for a city deal

The 2017 Capital of Culture wants government cash to build on its recent success.

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Council leaders arrived in London today to push Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry on a proposed city deal for Hull.

The Hull delegation in Westminster hopes to secure a similar deal to the one agreed to by the government last week, which released £60m to Grimsby.

If the government chooses to commit to the Hull deal, it will constitute a 15-year agreement throughout which Hull City Council and the national government will deliver a series of projects and improvements.

On the list are a variety of initiatives, including a new £60m cruise terminal, multi-million pound revamps of deprived areas of the city, and £18m to plug the funding gap for the city centre’s Albion Square development.

Councillors are hoping to build on the legacy of Hull’s year as the UK's Capital of Culture in 2017, which coincided with the regeneration of the city centre, and extensive renovation of cultural landmarks. 

They are confident that Hull has shown that it can turn financial investment into jobs and revenue. Council leader Steve Brady said that Hull had “built up a great track record of delivery”.

Brady said that ministers were “very keen” on regions taking the initiative and stepping forward to the government with ideas and plans. “That's what we are doing. Our officers have been working quietly on this with civil servants for the last 18 months, ensuring we are all singing from the same hymn sheet.” He didn’t expect any parts of the proposal to come “as a surprise” to the Minister.

Following the meeting, Brady reported that Berry “listened carefully to the strong case we made for Hull today and acknowledged that the proposal gives us something we can work on together. He also strongly agreed with us about the on-going importance of the Humber and its crucial role as an economic driver for the region.”

Speaking to Spotlight, he reported that "the discussion also covered the Hull City Prospectus for Growth in the context of the wider national and regional Industrial Strategy, and the current situation relating to devolution in general."

Hull can't progress alone, argued Brady. "Whilst the opportunity we now have as a city and a region is unprecedented, there are still some significant hurdles to clear." He said that government support would be "critical" to the sucess of the city.

The council leaders do not expect an answer immediately, but Councillor Brady said he looked forward to “more detailed discussions with the Minister and his team about our City Deal in the near future”. 

Augusta Riddy is a Special Projects Writer at the New Statesman.