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No response to letters

Brown blasts UK ministers over City Deal delay

Keith Brown

Keith Brown: no reply to letters (photo by Terry Murden)

A £1 billion City Deal for Edinburgh and south east Scotland has been delayed, with concerns rising that it could cost the Scottish economy millions of pounds of investment.

Economy Secretary Keith Brown has received no response to recent letters to Scottish Secretary David Mundell demanding answers on when the deal will be agreed.

A recent meeting with his UK Government counterpart Greg Clark in London was also cancelled at short notice.

Mr Brown says that without urgent action, negotiations could run on into the second half of the year and beyond while city deals in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness are already in place.

Mr Brown said: “The UK Government must stop dragging its feet over this very important issue. The Scottish Government is fully committed to agreeing an ambitious and transformative Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, in the same way we have done for Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness.

“I have written to the Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell twice in the past month with no reply. And last week Mr Clark cancelled a meeting where I intended to press him on the Edinburgh and South East deal.

“That is unacceptable. The UK Government cannot sideline the people of Edinburgh and the South East while it attempts to get its own house in order.

“Given the complete lack of engagement to date, we need urgent reassurances from the UK Government that they remain as committed to agreeing a jointly funded deal that secures the future prosperity and growth of Scotland’s capital city and region as we are, and are ready to enter into negotiations immediately.

“The repercussions of further delays will not only deprive businesses and communities in and around the capital of extra investment in innovation, culture and housing in the short term, but also raise concerns about the UK Government’s commitment to investing a transformative sum in the final deal.”

Current deals

Glasgow

The Scottish government is contributing £500 million to the £1.13 billion Glasgow City Region City Deal Infrastructure Investment Fund over 20 years.

The regional partners estimate that the overall investment of £1.13 billion will deliver around 29,000 jobs in the region and attract around £3.3 billion of private sector investment.

Aberdeen

The Scottish government and the UK Government have each committed up to £125 million to the Aberdeen City Region Deal, supplemented by up to £44 million committed by Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Council and other local partners.

The 10-year deal aims to encourage investment in innovation, internationalisation, digital connectivity and infrastructure across the region.

The Scottish government has committed a further £245 million to delivering improved transport and broadband networks and local housing programmes.

Inverness and Highland

The Scottish government has committed up to £135 million in the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal. The UK Government has committed up to £53 million, and the Highland council and regional partners have committed up to £127 million over 10 years.

Regional partners estimate that this total investment package of £315 million could attract an additional £800 million of investment by the private sector.

The deal will support improvements to the region’s digital connectivity, digital healthcare, skills, innovation and infrastructure, with the aim of stimulating long-term productivity and economic growth.

Future deals

There are discussions ongoing for the Edinburgh and South of East Scotland City Region, Stirling and Clackmannanshire, and for the Tay Cities Region (Angus, Dundee, Fife, and Perth and Kinross). Plans are also under way with the three Ayrshire Councils.

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