‘Critical’ infrastructure planned as £1.1bn Edinburgh City Deal agreed
A UK government investment of £300 million is being matched by the Scottish Government with contributions from councils and universities expected to take the total investment to about £1.1 billion.
Key commitments within the deal, which is expected to deliver 21,000 new jobs for the area, include:
- £300m for world leading data innovation centres
- £140m for crucially needed A720 city bypass at the Sheriffhall Roundabout and transport improvements across west Edinburgh
- £20m capital funding for new world class concert hall
- £25m regional skills programme to support improved career opportunities for disadvantaged groups
- £65m of new funding for housing to unlock strategic development sites
Speaking ahead of today’s official signing ceremony economy secretary Keith Brown said the deal will transform the region’s economy and provide opportunities for all areas to grow.
Mr Brown said: “The Scottish Government has been fully committed to this deal and I am very pleased that we have been able to get to the stage of achieving such an ambitious deal for the region.
“Edinburgh and its city region is an area of huge importance to the Scottish economy. It contains over a quarter of Scotland’s population and contributes £33bn to the Scottish and UK economies.
“The Scottish Government will be investing in the region’s workforce and will invest up to £25m for an Integrated Regional Employability & Skills Programme which will reduce skills shortages and gaps, delivering opportunity for people across Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders.
“The Scottish Government has also committed £140m to transport projects including £120m for improvements to the A720, Edinburgh City bypass and £20m for improvements at West Edinburgh.
“Providing decent housing is a priority for the Scottish Government so we will invest £65m into new housing for the region.
“We will also be investing in innovation and that will focus on ensuring businesses and communities across the region can benefit from opportunities through world class business infrastructure.
“Festivals are a crucial part of the culture and economy of Scotland, which is why we are investing £10m towards a new concert venue for the city. We will reinforce Edinburgh’s reputation as a leading centre for music and the performing arts through investing in the proposed IMPACT project, working with existing philanthropic and commercial partners to deliver a new world-class performance venue in the heart of Edinburgh, and a new home for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
“In addition I look forward to discussing with partners how we can further support Edinburgh’s festivals.
“Taken together these projects will help the region continue to thrive and grow, fulfilling our ambitions for the region to be one of the fairest and most inclusive areas in the country.”
Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell added: “The UK government is investing £300 million in the Edinburgh and South East of Scotland City Region Deal, which will boost the economy of Edinburgh and the whole of South-East Scotland for decades to come. The Edinburgh deal will focus on the capital’s strengths of new technology, innovation and culture. It will make a real difference to the lives of people in the region, creating jobs and prosperity and driving investment.”
The Edinburgh and South East of Scotland City Region Deal involves six councils - City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Fife, Midlothian, Scottish Borders and West Lothian.
The regional bid is the fourth UK City Deal in Scotland following investments in Glasgow, Inverness, and Aberdeen.
Tay Cities and Stirling city deals are currently under discussion, and the UK government has announced its commitment to exploring a Borderlands deal.
Speaking on behalf of all of the local authority partners, City of Edinburgh council leader Adam McVey, said: “I am delighted that this ambitious deal for the region has now been agreed, creating up to 21,000 new jobs. This will allow us to transform the area delivering high quality jobs, housing, critical infrastructure, a new skills programme, and a world class concert hall.
“The significant investment in innovation and culture is also to be welcomed as they are both hugely important to the region’s economy. This will put us at the forefront of data driven innovation ensuring we are ahead of the game in a technology driven world.
“We are home to world class research and development activity, much of which acts as an anchor for the development of new products and services through innovation in the private sector. As a world class festival city, Edinburgh attracts over £4m visitors every year adding over £1.3bn to the economy annually.
“Today’s signing is an important first step as we begin to work with both governments to deliver on the commitments in the deal to ensure the region is vibrant and inclusive going forward.”
Reacting to the news, the Scottish Property Federation (SPF) said the City Deal provides “a key opportunity” to unlock development and deliver the much-needed infrastructure for the region’s growing population and business needs.
Andrew Sutherland, vice-chair of the Scottish Property Federation and joint MD of Miller Developments, added: “Undoubtedly the city and region needs new housing and we welcome progress in this area and the jobs and increased tax base that this will create. The commitment also to upskilling the area’s workforce will also be good news to Scotland’s real estate sector and help us as an industry deliver much-needed infrastructure projects in the future.
“The challenge now is to ensure early action on all aspects of the investment programme and to make sure that this funding is used to the greatest effect across the city and wider region to drive local economic growth, jobs and investment. For example the new transport and infrastructure announcements will be important improvements and will help make Edinburgh and the wider region a more attractive proposition for investors, both domestically and from overseas – something that the SPF has long advocated.”
Also today the UK government will announce the start of steel cutting on the Clyde for the new Royal Navy Type 26 Frigates - an historic milestone for the Royal Navy, UK Defence and Scottish shipbuilding, enabled through a £3.7bn contract signed with BAE Systems earlier this month.
The work to build the ships, which starts today, will secure approximately 1,700 skilled shipbuilding jobs in Scotland and 2,300 jobs throughout the supply chain across Britain until 2035.