After a great deal of work and planning, the UK and Scottish Governments and the five councils of the Borderlands Partnership have signed off the ‘Heads of Terms’ for the £350million Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal.
Breaking this down, this means that an allocation of £150 million, equating to £85 million from the Scottish Government and £65 million from the UK Government, will directly benefit the South of Scotland, which will be split between Dumfries and Galloway Council and Scottish Borders Council.
For our region this will mean investment in a number of key projects across the whole of the D&G area. Details will be developed along with business cases, but funding has been allocated:
£8 million funding will be made available to develop a state-of-the-art Dairy innovation Centre for education and innovation, which will be created at the Scottish Rural University College.
£15.5 million will be allocated to the Business infrastructure programme which will including £7.5M from Scottish Government money, designated for Chapelcross. Matched with £7.8 million from UK Government which means a total investment of £15.3 million for the Chaplecross project. This will be a welcome investment for the Annan, Gretna, Lockerbie corridor and will ensure the continuation of partnership working with the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency.
The redevelopment of Stranraer Marina, to reposition Stranraer and Loch Ryan as a destination, will be crucial. We anticipate that up to £16m will be available for the transformation of the area, which will attract further private investment and encourage wider regeneration, stimulate growth, provide quality employment, raise skills and therefore, salaries.
In addition to the above identified local projects, some will cover the Borderlands area as a whole:
The South of Scotland Skills and Learning network will be developed and will primarily concentrate on the visitor economy. Tourism is currently worth £330 million to our region, and this increases year on year. £7 million will be used to develop skills and encourage people into work in the tourism and hospitality sector. To promote tourism further, £31 million will be assigned to the theme of ‘Destination’. Primarily covering the Scottish side of the border, this will include the Tweed Route, from source to sea; starting at Moffat and running through the Borders and Northumberland
Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Elaine Murray said: “All projects will be subject to detailed business cases, but this is a welcome return for all of our hard work and investment to reach this point. Projects have already been identified for Borderlands’ funding as part of the initial proposal to Governments, it will not be available as grants or by requests for funding, but the benefits of our investments will benefit all and have a knock-on effect by increasing economic growth and attracting further private investment. To get this far has proved that there is strength in numbers and that we have built a cohesive partnership with the 4 other local authorities. “
Depute, Rob Davidson said: “Building the local economy is a top priority for this Council. Although some projects will be cross partnership, and cross borders, those within our region will benefit greatly by this boost in funding and I particularly welcome the funding for Stranraer. Some of the money will be used to enhance funding already allocated by Dumfries and Galloway Council, to bring developments to fruition or enhance what we have already established, but this will be across the whole of our region, benefitting all.”
Hisashi Kuboyama, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)’s development manager for Dumfries & Galloway, said: “It is cheering to see governments from north and south of the border collaborating on this important project.
“Every effort must be made to ensure that smaller businesses in Dumfries & Galloway will feel the tangible benefit of the investment.
“It is also vital to make sure that local firms are involved at every stage – that means proper consultation and proactive engagement with businesses. Also it means local operators winning their fair share of contracts.
“Our research shows that business start-up rates are far slower in rural Scotland like Dumfries & Galloway than in the country’s cities. We hope this investment will address it and make the region a good place to start and grow a business.”
Commenting Finlay Carson MSP said: “The signing of the Borderlands Growth Deal is an important economic milestone for the region.
“It follows the successful passage of the South of Scotland Enterprise Bill, showing that the economic and social needs of this region are at long last starting to addressed.
“The Growth Deal highlights the benefits of the UK and Scottish Government’s working together and I warmly welcome the important funding for vital sectors like renewable energy, agriculture, digital and tourism.
“It is also pleasing to see the Scottish Government heading my constant calls for funding for Stranraer marina expansion and I hope now Dumfries and Galloway Council can layout the exact timescales and their plans for kickstarting the long awaited waterfront project, which will be such a boost for the area.
“I will be continuing to press for this funding to be delivered as soon as possible to deliver for residents and businesses right across the region.”
Colin Smyth MSP said, “Having been involved in the Borderlands since the beginning, I’m pleased to see this deal finally agreed as it has been a long time coming. The five local councils deserve enormous praise for developing the projects and getting to this stage, given that many people predicted it would be impossible to bring councils from across the border together in this way. Everyone now needs to get on with delivering the projects. This will not be a panacea for the regions’ massive economic challenges. It works out at around £15m a year over ten years for the whole of the south of Scotland which is quite modest. However, it will bring some badly needed investment into projects that could make a real difference to the local economy.”
For more information go to: www.borderlandsgrowth.com
Partnership PR attached.