Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region and Tay Cities Deals get closer to becoming a reality
Two ambitious City Deals – the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal (ESESCR) and Tay Cities Deal – are being considered by Fife Council’s Executive Committee today (Tuesday, 28 February).
Fife Council says it’s working hard to advance a ESESCR deal with Edinburgh City, East Lothian, Midlothian, Scottish Borders and West Lothian Councils which will accelerate economic growth in Scotland’s capital city and wider region, while tackling deprivation and inequality.
A shadow Joint Committee to determine strategic focus, agree investment priorities, oversee planning and implementation and monitor impact has been put in place, and a new Business Leadership Council is proposed, for the private sector to play a full role across the City Deal development and delivery process.
Negotiations continue with the UK and Scottish Governments on specific investment programmes.
Meanwhile, The Tay Cities Deal is being considered by Fife Council, with a view to a formal submission of the initial proposed investment approach from the four Tay Cities councils – Dundee, Angus, Perth & Kinross and Fife – to the Scottish and UK Governments.
The bid proposal is based on promoting ‘Fair Economic Growth’ where business growth, social inclusion and skills development are at the heart of a cohesive region of knowledge and creativity, which is allied to infrastructure investment. The Deal seeks to establish long-term partnerships with both the Scottish and UK Government to transform the regional economy, and is aligned with the economic strategies of both Governments.
The Tay Cities Deal proposition is focussed around five key themes: Inclusive Tay, Innovative Tay, International Tay, Connected Tay and Empowered Tay.
The Deal aims to make a step change in the region’s economic future through a wide-ranging programme of investment and integrated programmes. Over 50 projects are included in a submission document that sets out as a series of ‘offers’ and ‘asks’ focused on empowering the region, through new approaches to transport planning and unlocking public sector assets for new housing.
Cllr David Ross, leader of Fife Council, said: “Fife Council is strongly supporting two innovative city deals that are designed to boost inclusive economic growth, develop much-needed infrastructure, increase employment and develop employability skills.
“The Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region and Tay Cities are at different stages, but both hold bold proposals to tackle inequality and accelerate substantial inclusive economic growth across the region that are now closer to becoming a reality.
“We fully recognise the importance of the Tay Cities economy to, and contribution of, North East Fife. These proposals will enable the region to become even more attractive for inward investment.
“This City Deal will build on the many distinct strengths of the region, increasing jobs and developing opportunities across the food and drink, creative industries and the health and care sectors. The Tay Cities Deal will support us to realise the potential of the River Tay to encourage tourism and attract more visitors.
“We are increasingly working with stakeholders from business, the academic sector and key agencies in the region, to drive up economic growth, reduce inequalities and create a more prosperous future for all.”
The ESESCR Deal is built on the twin pillars of innovation and inclusion:
Innovation – Investment a Regional Data Science Innovation Cluster (RDSIC) will unlock value from public data, as well as deliver sustainable gains in private sector activity, public sector transformation and digital skills.
Inclusion – Focus is on reducing inequalities and making the region more inclusive through investment in skills, housing and infrastructure.
Skills and employability – Skills investment will drive productivity and ensure that the region’s residents are equipped with the skills to meet emerging labour market demand and opportunity. Skills are fundamental, with demand outstripping supply in some sectors, and bold new approaches are in development to target this issue.
Infrastructure – Infrastructure is critical to competitiveness and inclusion, and a key enabler across the City Region Deal programme. Improving connectivity will help unlock national and regional developments with significant growth potential and key strategic housing sites, and will enable residents to access jobs.
This includes infrastructure to deliver key rail and road investments in Fife to support the development of the port and related facilities at Rosyth, the regeneration of mid-Fife, the delivery of improved employment areas, housing and the application of renewable technologies.
Affordable housing programme – Housing is central to the inclusion agenda, and there is a further need to accelerate the supply of affordable and mid-market housing.