First tranche of funding approved

Concert hall and digital skills gain from £384m City Deal boost

Impact Centre interior

The Impact Centre will receive funds from the deal


A new concert hall and research into the digital economy are the first projects to benefit from the first tranche of investments from the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.

Combined funding of £384 million has been approved by the Deal’s Joint Committee for five projects which also include an investment in skills development.

Projects supported are

  • IMPACT Centre music and performance venue off St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, which is subject to planning approval.
  • Bayes Centre at University of Edinburgh (data science and artificial intelligence)
  • World Class Data Infrastructure project at University of Edinburgh
  • National Robotarium at Heriot Watt University (robotics)
  • The Integrated Regional Employability and Skills (IRES) programme.

The deal is an agreement between the UK Government, Scottish Government, the local authorities of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Fife, Midlothian, Scottish Borders, West Lothian and the region’s universities and colleges. There are also regional partners from the private and third sectors.

The approved projects are the first in a series of announcements expected to total around £1.3 billion over the next 15 years. It is anticipated that the investments will generate a further £5bn worth of Gross Value Added (GVA) during the deal’s lifespan.

The total investment is a combination of capital and revenue funding from all partner elements of each project.

Adam McVey, chairman of the committee and leader of Edinburgh Council, said: “These investments represent the first step in a hugely ambitious and transformative plan to drive inclusive economic growth and make the region a global leader in data-driven innovation.

“This success can only come by pooling resources and the funding provided will benefit our communities through enhanced skills programmes, delivering opportunities for business and improved infrastructure.

“This is just the beginning; further projects are due to be announced in the months and years ahead that will improve the lives of residents across the region.”

Leann Dempster screenshotLeeann Dempster, pictured, chairman of the Deal’s Regional Enterprise Council, said: “Delivering dynamic projects that will enable the region to harness the opportunities available in data-driven innovation is a key aim of the City Region Deal. Even at this early stage, the programme is beginning to bear fruit and collaboration between all the partners has been the reason for this rapid progress.

“This first £384m of funding will help future-proof our economy and is something the whole region can benefit from.”

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: “The approved projects will see the region lead the way in data driven innovation and robotics, while the music and performance centre – the first new venue of its kind to be built in the city in 100 years – will create a 1,000 seat concert hall with world class facilities, reaffirming Edinburgh as a global cultural leader.

“To date the UK Government has committed more than £1.1 billion to City Region Deals right across Scotland and it’s great we are already seeing the fruits of that investment.”

Michael Matheson, Scottish Infrastructure Secretary, said: “I would like to congratulate regional partners on the quick progress that has been made in the City Region Deal and thank those involved for the work undertaken to get to this position.

“These cultural, skills and data-driven innovation programmes can be truly transformative for people, communities and businesses throughout the region. 

“The challenge is now to bring these projects to life and ensure that the investment makes a real difference across the region by delivering inclusive economic growth.”

Among the key commitments in the Deal are:

•             £350m for world leading innovation centres

•             £25m 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

Apprenticeship programme launched

Accenture has partnered with Heriot-Watt University to pilot a degree-level apprentice programme in Scotland. 

It builds on Accenture’s programmes in other parts of the UK and will support young people studying for the Graduate Apprenticeship Software Development for Business BSc in Scotland. 

Apprentices will combine studying with developing software for Accenture’s financial services clients in Glasgow.


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