1. ITV Report

Bristol to get long-awaited Metro train network

Bristol will have an extra billion pounds to spend over the next decade Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive

It is already the fastest growing economy outside London, but today Bristol was told it will have an extra billion pounds over the next decade to promote economic growth. The priority will be to create jobs, but the new city deal announced today will also mean that Bristol is likely to get its long awaited Metro scheme.

Control over transport budgets will be given to council leaders, who will no longer need to seek Whitehall approval for individual schemes.

For years campaigners have called for the rail line from Portishead to Bristol to be reopened to passengers. Today it was announced they'll get their wish in around 4 years time.

Councillor Tim Kent says: "What we have got is under used stations, underused lines we are going to bring those back into use. We'll see the Portishead railway line reopened, we'll see the Henbury line reopened and we'll see several new stations. This will get millions of extra people to work so we can radically change how we get around our city region and we can help cut congestion and cut pollution"

Details of the City Deal were announced during a ministerial visit by Treasury Minister Danny Alexander. The money will come from a new deal struck with the Government designed to promote economic growth. New enterprise zones like the one at Temple Meads are being created. Cash will also be spent on improving people's skills and creating apprenticeships. So where's the cash coming from?

Treasury Minister Danny Alexander says: "Well Bristol and the region and the local enterprise partnership is sgetting the powers to retain for 25 years the growth in business rates and 5 enterprise areas in addition to the enterprise zones we announced last year, that will contribute to a billion pound economic development fund that this area is seeking to create, that would be pooled across the local authorities to be used for whatever economic development priorities this area decides is most important"

To get the ball rolling Bristol will be able to borrow cash from the Government to get projects moving. It's a gamble though, the Enterprise zones have to draw in businesses - or taxpayers could be landed with a huge debt.