Money for Moray and Tay Cities region growth deals will be handed out over a 10-year period, it has been agreed.
The initial heads of terms for both indicated cash from the UK Government would be dispensed over a 15-year cycle; however, an agreement has been reached to cut this by five years.
It is hoped the Tay Cities Deal could be finalised by December, more than two years after the initial agreement was given.
It is hoped the Moray deal, meanwhile, will be signed off in full before the Holyrood election.
News of the acceleration was welcomed by representatives in the Tay and Moray regions, but Dundee administration leader Councillor John Alexander said the process still needed to move “at pace”.
As it stands, the Tay Cities Deal will have an additional £6.3 million annually and Moray £1.1 million as a result.
The time for talking is done, the time for delivering is finally upon us and I can’t wait to see the projects coming out of the group, creating opportunities for the local economy.”
Councillor John Alexander, Dundee City Council leader
As part of its 2020 spending review, the Treasury agreed to accelerate the funding for the Islands and Borderlands region deals also.
Nothing has been signed off on any of the four deals singled out in the review, but the announcement made on Wednesday afternoon is regarded as a commitment.
Welcome news for Moray
Moray council leader Graham Leadbitter said: “The commitment from the UK Government to match the Scottish Government’s timescale for investment is positive news for Moray.
“The growth deal projects in Moray represent investment in jobs, skills, iconic infrastructure and connectivity for our predominantly rural area.
“Any acceleration in this investment is very welcome.”
Tay Cities has taken ‘far too long’
Dundee City Council leader and vice-chairman of the Tay Cities Deal board John Alexander said: “The long-awaited, and what seemed like elusive, Tay Cities Deal has finally been given the go ahead and I’m absolutely delighted. It’s fair to say that it has taken far too long.
“The Tayside politicians and officers have worked incredibly hard in the background to get a deal that works and deliver real investment. Those efforts have now been rewarded.
“One of our core asks was a move to 10-year funding, which helps deliver the collective ambitions sooner and, therefore, deliver the benefits sooner. The UK Government have now committed to that timeframe, following the Scottish Government’s lead.
“Now we need to get this signed off formally and that will allow key infrastructure projects to move forward, at pace.
“The time for talking is done, the time for delivering is finally upon us and I can’t wait to see the projects coming out of the group, creating opportunities for the local economy.”
Treasury showing ‘union strength’
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “The UK Government’s spending review delivers for all parts of the UK at this challenging time. Never before has the strength of the union and the role of the UK Treasury been more important.
“We made a commitment to maintain funding for our vital rural and coastal communities and are fulfilling that through £570 million to support farmers and our rural economy, and £14 million to support Scottish fisheries.
“Additional funding for broadband will help boost the economies of some of Scotland’s most remote communities.
“Accelerating the Tay, Moray, Borderlands and Islands growth deals is great news. It will help support jobs and drive economic recovery across swathes of Scotland.
“The Scottish Government will receive an additional £2.4 billion in Barnett consequentials. This is over and above the £8.2 billion they have already been allocated since March this year.
“This additional funding will help support jobs and public services in Scotland while we fight the pandemic.
“The UK Government will continue to do all it can to support people in all parts of the United Kingdom.”
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross added: “It’s now a fact that Rishi Sunak and the UK Government have gone further than any government in peacetime history to protect jobs and support public services.
“These unparalleled spending promises show that the deep pockets of the UK Government are best placed to support Scottish jobs, schools and hospitals.
“The Scottish Conservatives argued for accelerated City and Growth deals to invest more quickly in Scottish communities, and we’re delighted to see that has been delivered alongside a bumper £2.4 billion boost in Barnett consequentials.”