Progress on city region deal to speed up economic growth
A major initiative that has the potential to transform the economy of Midlothian and the surrounding region could get the green light later this year.
The Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal is a partnership between Midlothian, City of Edinburgh, Fife, East Lothian, West Lothian and Scottish Borders Councils, in collaboration with the university and business sectors. The aim is to attract significant government investment into the area with the potential to lever in additional funding from the private sector.
At their meeting on Tuesday (7 February 2017) Midlothian councillors heard that negotiations currently underway with the Scottish and UK Governments are progressing well. The partners are now aiming to agree a key document, which will set out the contractual basis for the city region deal, in the spring of 2017.
City Deal proposals
The proposals have been shaped around a number of interconnected programmes. These include creating innovation hubs which connect world-leading university research and innovation programmes with business incubation and skills development; investing in infrastructure – such as transport and digital connectivity – across the region; developing a programme to deliver more affordable homes to the area, and creating a culture and tourism programme to further invest in tourism-related, creative and service industries.
The city region deal is also focusing on measures to reduce inequalities which would see all parts of the region share in economic success through investment in training and skills, housing and infrastructure. The affordable housing programme alone has the potential to create 11,000 jobs as well as provide investment in skills and development.
Major step forward
Midlothian council leader, councillor Cath Johnstone, commented: “We are delighted with the progress being made in our discussions with the UK and Scottish governments and we look forward to the negotiations taking a major step forward in the next few months. The city region deal has the potential to offer significant economic benefits for Midlothian by attracting new investment, improving vital infrastructure and creating new jobs, business and training opportunities.”