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Brown unveils £11m for cities collaboration

Scottish Cities AllianceA plan to encourage Scotland’s seven cities to work more closely together has been handed €15 million (£11m) from a European fund in the hope that they can help each other generate jobs and better services.

The fund will support the Scottish Cities Alliance with the aim of emulating the ‘Smart City’ success of European centres such as Amsterdam and Barcelona.

Infrastructure, Investment and Cities Secretary Keith Brown told the Core Cities Summit in Glasgow today that the money has been ring-fenced within the Scottish European Regional Development Fund Programme until 2020.

The Scottish Cities Alliance was launched at the end of 2011 and is managed by the Scottish Council for Development and Industry.

Mr Brown said: “Smart cities are the future and we want to make sure our cities are equipped to deliver for their citizens and for Scotland. This means being smart about how we use data and technology to improve services, promote innovation and empower people and communities.”

Cities and their regions account for 53% of Scotland’s population and two-thirds of the country’s exports. Mr Brown said: “They are powerhouses for our economy – if our cities thrive then all of Scotland prospers.”

He said that they could achieve more by working together. “Our cities do much individually, but there are areas where collaboration will deliver a greater success. The Scottish Cities Alliance, representing the seven cities, is working to find new forms of investment to bring jobs into Scotland. It recently launched a £10 billion investment prospectus to promote our cities and attract long-term investment.

“Today’s summit is also about the powers our cities have to make the right decisions for their areas. In fact Scotland’s cities are leading the UK on devolution – already possessing many of the powers their English counterparts are fighting for.”

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