A fresh plea has been made to the UK Government to sign on the dotted line of a multi-million-pound cash investment for Tayside
The £150 million Tay Cities Deal is a partnership between Westminster and Scottish governments, and will benefit Dundee, Angus, Fife and Perth.
The cash will be invested in a number of different projects, with the £5.5m re-development of Hospitalfield House in Arbroath the first confirmed proposal announced last month.
However there have been hold-ups in the money being signed over, with councils calling for the duration of the deal to be reduced from 15 to 10 years.
But writing in the Tele today, Iain Stewart, Scotland minister, said the government was ready to “ready to sign the deal today” if that is what the councils want.
Responding to Mr Stewart, Dundee’s council leader said he welcomed the commitment and called for swift action.
John Alexander said: “The Tay Cities Deal is long overdue and I, like all local partners, want to see this signed.
“So, I’m delighted to read that the UK Government are ready to sign on the dotted line today, my pen is primed and ready should they wish to name a date and time.
The UK Government have set out, very clearly, that they are reviewing the overall city deal funding periods across the UK, as part of the spending review, which I very much welcome.
“Therefore, there’s no reason that we can’t sign the deal today and if they make a positive move and reduce the draw down period to 10 years, amend the agreement accordingly.
“Given that the only projects that would be affected would be those programmed for 10 years from now, there is no reason that signing the deal now would prevent that reduction from happening, it’s a very simple amendment.”
“In summary, let’s get it signed and I hope that the UK Government follow through on their commitment and announced desire to “build, build, build”, over a much more ambitious 10 year period.”
Partners in the Tay Cities Region Deal rubber-stamped the £700m agreement during an event in Perth in November 2018.
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.
‘We must pull together to deliver projects’
By UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart
City Region and Growth Deals will be crucial to getting Scotland’s economy back on track after the pandemic.
While the UK Government is rightly focused on helping people through Covid-19 –
including guaranteeing an additional £6.5 billion this year to spend on public services and support businesses in Scotland – we are also pressing ahead with city region and growth deals to rebuild our economy.
Recent announcements now mean every corner of Scotland will benefit
from a deal, taking the UK Government’s investment in deals across Scotland to more than £1.5bn.
They are about creating cities and regions ready for the future.
The UK Government’s £150 million investment in the Tay Cities Deal has the potential to deliver an exciting and transformational boost to the region’s economy.
The impact of this will be felt right across Dundee, Fife, Angus and Perth and Kinross.
Since the heads of terms were signed we have added to the list of projects that will benefit, including the Innerpeffray Library in Perthshire, Scotland’s oldest free lending library.
All partners are continuing to work hard to progress this deal, but there is still work to be done to get projects fully approved.
The UK Government has already made £10m available to get the deal’s most shovel-ready projects out of the starting blocks.
We know the local partners are keen to conclude the deal over 10 years rather than the 15 years agreed by everyone.
We have committed to looking again at this later in the year as part of the UK Government spending review, but we are ready to sign the deal today if that is what the partners want.
We must now all pull together to deliver these transformational projects and make them the success we know they can be.