Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc in Dundee will benefit from more than £3 million in Scottish Government funding as part of a new nationwide “return to work” package.
A total £230 million has been unveiled to help stimulate Scotland’s economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, as data from the Office for National Statistics revealed the unemployment rate surged to 4.6% between February and April.
As part of the deal, £3.1 million will be made available to the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc (MSIP), with a Government source stating the funds will be used to “support our shared ambitions”.
Around 850 at Michelin’s Baldovie plant were told on November 18 that tyre manufacturing would cease at the site in 2020 but the company were forced to pull the plug two months early in March due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
So far more than 500 workers have moved on to new jobs while plans have been developed to turn the Michelin factory site into the MSIP – a hub for sustainable mobility and low-carbon energy.
The Scottish Government’s new £230 million back to work initiative will cover construction, low-carbon projects, digitisation and business support, and will provide a flow of work for businesses.
It is funded by the reallocation of underspends from schemes interrupted by Covid-19 and ministers hope the cash will help support hundreds of Scottish jobs.
New projects featured in the package include:
- £51 million for business support, including boosting high-growth companies.
- £78 million for construction, including £40 million for regeneration projects and £20 million for roads maintenance.
- £66 million to kick-start the “green recovery”, including £7 million to equip buses for physical distancing and the return to work.
- £35.5 million for digitisation, including justice and education services.
Finance secretary Kate Forbes announced the package on Tuesday as she opened a Scottish Parliament debate on the financial implications of Covid-19.
She also sought the support of MSPs for the Scottish Government’s call to be granted additional financial powers to manage the crisis.
Ms Forbes said: “The impact of Covid-19 has been enormous on both businesses and individuals, and the Scottish Government has so far spent more than £4 billion tackling its effects.
“We are also taking steps to accelerate our economic recovery and this package ensures that we can make immediate use of money which, because of the pandemic, might otherwise not have been spent this year.
“I do not underestimate the challenges we face but I also see opportunities. It is important we take this chance to reshape our economy in a way that works for everyone and promotes long-term growth, not just quick fixes.
“This £230 million delivers investment across Scotland and will boost the green recovery, speed up digitisation and bolster construction, supporting hundreds of jobs.”
Ms Forbes said the return to work package is “part of a process to harness Scotland’s talent and resources and build a modern economy that is robust, fair and sustainable”.
“But it is only a start,” she said. “Larger programmes will follow and I will continue pressing the UK Government both for new financial powers and greater certainty over funding.
“These additional powers are now absolutely essential – without them Scotland will be planning for recovery with one hand tied behind our back.”