Greg Clark, the minister for universities, science and cities, met George Beveridge, chairman of Cumbria Local Enterprise, to sign the contract that could create up to 3,000 new jobs.
The Cumbria Growth Deal is set to inject a multimillion-pound investment into the county’s economy through a number of projects.
These will include the regeneration of the Barrow Waterfront Enterprize Zone, phase two of Connecting Cumbria, road improvements to help GSK’s site developments in Ulverston and an advanced manufacturing technology centre at Furness College in Barrow.
Mr Clark said: “It is always a pleasure to visit Cumbria, and this is a particularly historic visit as we sign the Cumbria Growth Deal. This deal, which devolves powers to local leaders, businesses, universities and colleges, is an important part of the government’s long-term economic plan.
“The fruits of this deal will be jobs and growth with investment in skills at Carlisle College and Furness College, expanding Superfast Broadband and improving transport infrastructure across Cumbria.
“It shows how much can be achieved when central government and local communities work together, rather than the old ‘Whitehall knows best’ approach.”
George Beveridge, chairman of the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “I am delighted that we have now formalised the funding for Cumbria’s ‘four-pronged attack’ for economic growth.
“This is a benchmark date for the Cumbrian economy, with businesses in all of our core growth areas set to benefit – from nuclear and energy, to advanced manufacturing, the rural and visitor economy and our strategic M6 corridor.
“This money will help create thousands of new jobs and leverage in additional money from the private sector.
“We are already exploring future opportunities for Cumbria to benefit from the Local Growth Fund beyond 2017, but it’s a big day for us to formalise our previous successes with government.”
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