A deal to support the creation of 3,500 jobs and 660 start-up businesses in South Staffordshire over the next four years has been signed by the county and district councils.

The second South Staffordshire District Deal sets out a four-year plan which will also see the creation of a skills federation to enable young people to meet the needs of local employers and work clubs set up to support people back into employment. A new health and wellbeing programme will be established for district residents.

It will build on successes achieved in the district at i54 South Staffordshire a now home to leading global businesses with a workforce of over 3,000 people a and at the Bericote Four Ashes site where automotive parts manufacturer Gestamp will be relocating its operations and 800 employees. With the former munitions site at Featherstone set for imminent development; the drive to attract new investment will continue as part of the deal.

The deal will demonstrate a commitment to ever closer working between the two councils as the move towards full locally retained business rates draws nearer. Its signing took place ahead of the start of the first Staffordshire Business Festival a a celebration of the countyas economic success and entrepreneurial drive.

Staffordshire County Council leader Philip Atkins OBE said: aOur two councils already work closely together to bring in major investors and create the right environment for businesses of all sizes. The achievements at i54 South Staffordshire have been recognised as a leading national example of how councils can work together to bring jobs and investment to their area. Weare getting the mix of big business and smaller enterprises right as Dunston Business Village demonstrates. Weare also delivering essential infrastructure like superfast broadband to boost connection and productivity. This all creates increased opportunities and more prosperous, healthier communities.a

Councillor Brian Edwards MBE, leader of South Staffordshire Council, said, aIam delighted that our two councils have signed the second District Deal for South Staffordshire. Building on the foundations of the original, this deal will help increase economic growth across the district and create conditions for new and existing businesses to thrive. Our strong partnership with Staffordshire County is helping deliver a skilled and prosperous district and together we are attracting more investment and jobs into the area.a

Philip signed the deal with Brian Edwards MBE at the districtas award-winning Dunston Business Village. The village, run by Adrian MacLaughlin, is currently expanding. There are 58 companies currently operating there.

Adrian said: aDunston Business Village is home to a broad range of companies which demonstrates Staffordshireas diverse and thriving economy. We are currently expanding and look forward to welcoming new businesses very soon. Businesses tell us that the village is an attractive place to work and to bring clients and weare in a great location. Staffordshire itself is an excellent place to do business and itas encouraging to see our councils working together to support economic growth and increase prosperity in the county.a

The first District Deal, launched in 2013, laid the foundations to closer working, shared resources and improving employment skills in the district.