City Region secures £1.1bn deal from UK and Scottish Governments
A £1.1bn Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, which will help drive investment and economic growth across the area, has been announced by the UK and Scottish governments.
Joint government investment of £600m
The 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. A joint announcement by the UK and Scottish governments commits both to jointly investing £600m in the initiative over the next 15 years.
Overall deal worth £1.1bn
Regional partners have also committed to adding up to £500m, representing an overall deal worth £1.1bn. The investment is expected to generate a £5bn boost for the area’s economy over the same period.
Potential benefits for Midlothian include:
- £300m for world leading data innovation centres across the region, a significant part being at Easter Bush in Midlothian
- Funding towards the construction of the A701 relief road and A702 spur road
- A £25m regional skills programme to support improved training and career opportunities, with an emphasis on the needs of disadvantaged groups. This will also include funding for specialist centres of excellence in new Midlothian secondary schools
- £120m to support improvements to the A720 city bypass, which includes a major scheme for the Sheriffhall Roundabout
- £65m of new funding for housing across the region to unlock strategic development sites and to help meet the need for more new affordable housing
Deal builds on area’s many strengths
“We welcome this additional investment in Midlothian, albeit that it falls far short of the £1bn originally expected in government funding,” said Midlothian Council Leader, Councillor Derek Milligan.
“That said, the City Region Deal builds on our area’s many strengths, particularly in research, technology and innovation. It will also act as a catalyst in accelerating economic growth by encouraging further investment and boosting the economy of Midlothian and the wider area.
Proposals for affordable housing
“The funding for improved infrastructure, jobs, skills and training opportunities will be widely welcomed, but I am disappointed at the lack of clarity in relation to key elements of the deal, including the proposals for the city bypass and Sheriffhall. I had also expected much more ambitious proposals in relation to affordable housing and the council will be seeking greater clarity on this aspect.”
Partners agree next steps
At a signing ceremony held in Edinburgh on Thursday (July 20) the partners agreed a key document which sets out the basis for progressing the city region deal. Among those attending were First Secretary of State and Minister for the Cabinet Office, Damian Green and Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, Keith Brown. Midlothian Council was represented by the Council Leader, Councillor Derek Milligan, and the Chief Executive, Kenneth Lawrie.