Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk has welcomed the announcement of major investment into Cheltenham, with £22 million funding for a local cyber park and supporting infrastructure.
The funding is part of the Government’s national ‘Growth Deal’. The Cheltenham MP has been working behind the scenes in Parliament, lobbying Ministers across Government for their support.
Welcoming the announcement, Mr Chalk said:
“This really is fantastic news. The Cyber Innovation Centre is a unique opportunity for Cheltenham. The cyber sector is already worth £20 billion to the UK each year. A dedicated ‘Cyber Hub’ site, supported by civilian start-ups and supply businesses, will put Cheltenham at the heart of the country’s cyber-economy. It’ll be a huge boost for local jobs and investment.”
Mr Chalk added:
“I’ve been championing the development of a Cyber Hub in the town since before my election in 2015. It’s taken nearly two years to get here and this is a real vote of confidence in our town.''
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid MP said:
“As the Chancellor set out in a keynote speech at GCHQ in November 2015, the establishment of a Cyber Innovation Centre in Cheltenham is a key part of the Government's cybersecurity strategy. The west of Cheltenham presents a unique opportunity to create a digital ecosystem, in which the most talented people move in and out of GCHQ, bringing the best minds and deepest expertise into the private sector, and the latest innovation back into government. The town's MP, Alex Chalk, has been a powerful and effective advocate for investment for Cheltenham that will bring jobs and opportunity to the town, and I'm delighted to announce a Growth Deal settlement which supports his cyber vision for Cheltenham’s future.''
Mr Chalk commented:
“We needed the Government’s support to bring my cyber vision to life. I believe we set out a great case. I’m delighted that both Sajid Javid and Philip Hammond have given Cheltenham such positive support. This is a vote of confidence in Cheltenham's future. “
Mr Chalk has been championing the development of a Cyber Park in the town since before his election in 2015. He has been in regular communication with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP about the scheme. After lobbying from Mr Chalk, Cheltenham's cyber innovation centre project received the support of then Chancellor George Osborne last November (2015) and the current Chancellor, Philip Hammond in October 2016. A pilot cyber innovation centre is currently running across two existing premises in Cheltenham, overseen by GCHQ.