Published: Tuesday, 07th August 2018
The Scottish Borders will benefit from not only multi-million pound investment but an economically stronger wider region thanks to the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.
The £1.3bn investment, an agreement between the UK Government, Scottish Government, the local authorities of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Fife, Midlothian, Scottish Borders and West Lothian and the region’s universities and colleges, will be formally signed on Tuesday 7 August. Other regional partners include the private and third sectors.
The UK and Scottish governments will invest £300m each over the next 15 years with other partners committing to an additional £700m. The £1.3bn investment is anticipated to generate over £5bn worth of Gross Value Added (GVA) over the deal’s lifespan.
Unlocking the region's economic potential
The deal represents several years’ worth of work behind the scenes by the partners, in conjunction with both governments, and will provide jobs for the future and address key economic barriers and issues which have restricted the region’s economic potential.
Councillor Shona Haslam, Leader of Scottish Borders Council
“The real value in this City Region Deal is the reach and impact that the deal will have on not just our area but the south and east of Scotland as a whole. The significant investment in innovation, employability and skills, transport, culture and housing across the whole region will have real benefits for the Scottish Borders.
“Specifically for the Borders, the £15million for the Central Borders Innovation Park at Tweedbank will help deliver additional much needed high quality business space. This will stimulate business growth, improve our inward investment offer, particularly to high value sectors, and in turn create jobs, especially better quality, higher paid jobs that the Scottish Borders lacks currently.
“This project has the potential to deliver hundreds of jobs over many years and add £353m into the Scottish Borders economy.”
In addition to the City Region Deal commitment, phase one of the Central Borders Innovation Park is expected to be funded by Scottish Borders Council (£5m) Borders Railway Blueprint (£3.5m), Scottish Enterprise (£1.5m) and the private sector (£4.1m).
Investment in skills
A £25m investment over eight years in a region-wide employability and skills programme will also directly benefit the area and its young people.
Borders College is among the partners to have been working to identify how an integrated regional programme can harness the potential that key employment sectors offer residents and also tackle skills gaps across the city region.
For the Scottish Borders specifically, projects looking at construction and digital skills are being explored, as well as a pilot to reduce rural barriers to education and work.
Angela Cox, Principal of Borders College
“We are delighted to be working with all of the key partners on this exciting and innovative project which will ensure that the current and future workforce are not digitally disadvantaged, enabling businesses and employees to access a new range of qualifications and learning methods to meet the future demands of industry and address skills shortages.”
Councillor Shona Haslam
“The City Region Deal is good for the Scottish Borders as a whole and will enable us to maximise the delivery of affordable housing, stimulate private sector investment and support local jobs, and will be a further step towards ensuring that our young people can see a future for themselves within the Scottish Borders.
“It will accelerate growth in the area and make for a stronger city region, which can drive even more growth for Scotland and the UK. A thriving Scottish Borders in a wider successful city region will breed further investment and growth in the future.”
Other key commitments in the City Region Deal
Among the key commitments in the Deal are:
- £350m for world leading innovation centres
- £20m capital funding for a first-class music and performance venue and Edinburgh’s first purpose built music venue in a century
- £140m for a crucially needed A720 city bypass at the Sheriffhall Roundabout and further enhancements across West Edinburgh
- £25m for a regional skills programme to support improved career opportunities for disadvantaged groups
- £65m of new funding for housing to unlock strategic development sites.
City of Edinburgh Council Leader, Adam McVey, speaking on behalf of all the local authority partners, said: “The agreement of this ambitious deal heralds the beginning of a transformative and inclusive programme which will help share our success right across the region.
“This investment will allow us to unlock the region’s potential to become a global powerhouse in data driven innovation through our exceptional research and development activities, whilst the commitment to a skills programme will enhance job prospects for everyone and allow us to capitalise on the opportunities technology and innovation creates. We will also greatly enhance the region’s infrastructure through significant funding for transport projects and housing development to build a vibrant region for people and businesses to thrive in.”
Visit the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal website for more information about the deal, the partners and how to get involved.