WHILE the signing today of the Oxfordshire City Deal forecasts a £1.2bn benefit for the county, people should remember that this is not all “new” money.

However, before we are accused of being party poopers, this announcement should be rightly celebrated as the timely boost that it is.

In reality, today’s announcement pulls together an overview of many of the projects that will be transforming our city and county.

For many people looking from the outside, Oxford’s past and tradition are what first springs to mind: our longstanding University, our beautiful architecture, tourism, even the halcyon days of Morris Motors.

You can’t blame them for being disappointed when some of the modern faces of Oxford are the Westgate Centre and Frideswide Square.

But we have a dynamic future.

The aforementioned eyesores are to be transformed, there is the whole West End development, and now we have this City Deal.

It should be remembered, too, that the figure of £1.2bn is a forecast, as are the 19,000 new jobs, rather than a guarantee.

But this is not just about jobs for high-flying boffins.

It will benefit everyone in the city and county, either directly or through improvements like the Oyster Card-style scheme, and much-needed improvements to transport links such as the A34 and A40/A44 connection, and the Cutteslowe and Wolvercote roundabouts.

We have so much to be proud of already.

The City Deal offers a future that holds even more promise.