Home Economy City Deal to drive productivity and growth
Last week’s Spring Budget signalled an important commitment to the City Region Deal for Edinburgh and South East Scotland, which will drive productivity and growth, while reducing inequalities and deprivation across the region.
This is very positive news for Fife, which has been at the forefront of work to secure the City Region Deal, working closely with neighbouring local authorities in Edinburgh, the Lothians and Scottish Borders.
By announcing a City Deal for the region, the Chancellor cemented two years’ worth of positive conversations between Edinburgh and the South East Scotland region, the Scottish Government and the UK Government and gives the green light for detailed negotiations to take place on the implementation of the Deal.
We initially submitted our proposals in September 2015, and are now confident of negotiating greater fiscal powers and funding towards strategic housing, transport and infrastructure. Our vision is to enable the region to become the most connected, creative, inclusive and innovative place in Europe.
The City Region Deal, could be worth up to £1 billion of public investment with 3 to 4 times this amount through consequential investment from the private sector.
Critically, whilst the partnership will benefit greatly from the involvement of Edinburgh as Scotland’s capital city, the investment and benefits will spread across the whole of South East Scotland including Fife.
Each local authority has specific strengths and opportunities. Fife has forged a successful reputation in renewable energy technology and manufacturing. The Kingdom also has a thriving tourism industry and agriculture, fishing, food and drinks industries are big business for the local economy.
Fife is also the home of the internationally renowned University of St Andrews, an ancient but industry-relevant and forward thinking institution. The idea is to build on the many strengths of the whole city region, while also tackling inequality.
We are performing well economically, but we are not achieving our full growth potential. In some industries we have a critical skills shortage and infrastructure is being pushed to the limits by population growth.
It is frankly not acceptable that almost a quarter of our region’s residents live in fuel poverty, while 21% of our children live in poverty.
But through more innovation, the development of skills and infrastructure projects and the acquisition of increased powers, we can further enhance the region’s reputation as a great place to live, work, do business and invest in.
This will help accelerate economic growth, not just for the region, but for the whole of Scotland and the wider UK. So, this week’s commitment from Westminster is a very positive step forward for our proposals to tackle inequality and accelerate substantial economic growth through investment in innovation, skills and infrastructure.