A major economic deal that is expected to bring thousands of jobs to Tayside and north-east Fife was signed today.
Partners in the Tay Cities Region Deal rubber-stamped the £700 million agreement during an event in Perth.
It commits the UK and Scottish governments to investing a combined £300m in the region over the next 10-15 years, with a further £400m of investment from a range of partners expected to be secured over the next decade – creating more than 6,000 jobs.
The money will be spent on a variety of projects, including investment in Dundee Airport and a Scottish aviation academy, a Perth bus and rail interchange, and more than £60m in “innovation and high-value manufacturing” – though no detail has been given on whether this relates to the forthcoming Michelin factory closure.
Up to £20m will be invested in a regional skills development programme, in an attempt to reduce skills shortages and support people to move into new industries, while investment will be put into creating “world-class” digital infrastructure in the region.
The cash is short of the £1.8 billion that the deal was originally valued at – although it’s understood local civic leaders have been happy about the progress on the terms of the deal.
Its signing was delayed in the wake of the announcement this month about Michelin’s plans to shut its Dundee plant, with the loss of more than 800 jobs.
An action group is working through possible options for securing the site’s future.
Michael Matheson MSP, Scottish Infrastructure Secretary, said the deal would deliver “significant long-term benefits to the local economy”.
He added: “The deal will create jobs right across the region in traditional sectors, as well as in high-tech areas of biomedicine and cyber security. Across the entire deal, we will be investing more than £60m on innovation and high-value manufacturing.
“The successful delivery of the Tay Cities Region Deal will help the region continue to thrive and grow, fulfilling our ambitions for it to be one of the most economically and culturally vibrant areas in the country”
John Alexander, leader of Dundee City Council, said: “This allows us to begin another phase of the region’s regeneration and continued economic growth. We now need to make sure it delivers sooner rather than later.
“Our region has incredible assets, not least talented and skilled people.
“This deal will allow us to deploy those skills across a wide array of exciting propositions from industrial to aviation, hospitality to hi-tech.
“This is a potential game-changer and we need to grasp this opportunity with both hands.
“This is not the end of the process, and while this provides the outline and total funding amounts from governments, there is further work to be undertaken to refine projects and determine specific funding allocations.”
Ellis Watson, executive chairman of DC Thomson Media – who chairs the cities deal regional business group – said: “The success of the deal hinges on the creation of long-lasting partnerships.
“It is these partnerships that will ultimately deliver sustainable change for people living and working in the area.”
Angus Council leader David Fairweather added: “It would be difficult to overestimate the importance to the local economy of what is being signed today.”