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Edinburgh region given £1.1bn boost to drive investment and inclusion

A deal worth £1.1bn to drive investment and address inclusion in the Edinburgh and South-East Scotland area was yesterday signed by the UK and Scottish governments.

The deal was signed by first secretary of state and minister for the Cabinet Office, Damian Green; Keith Brown, the Scottish government cabinet secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work; and the leader of the City of Edinburgh Council, Adam McVey, on behalf of local authority partners East Lothian, the City of Edinburgh Council, Fife, Midlothian, Scottish Borders and West Lothian.

It will see both governments jointly invest £600m over the next 15 years, with regional partners adding an extra sum of up to £500m.

Included in the ambitious plan is £300m for world-leading data innovation centres, £140m for crucially needed A720 city bypass work, as well as £20m capital funding for a new world-class concert hall.

Around £65m will be put into a fund to unlock strategic housing development sites in Edinburgh, whilst £25m will be used for a regional skills programme to support improved career opportunities for socially disadvantaged groups.

“I am delighted that this ambitious deal for the region has now been agreed, creating up to 21,000 new jobs,” said Cllr McVey, speaking on behalf of the local authorities involved. 

“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,” he added. “This will put us at the forefront of data driven innovation ensuring we are ahead of the game in a technology driven world.”

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”,

He also explained that Edinburgh and its city region was an area of huge importance to the Scottish economy, containing over a quarter of Scotland’s population and contributing £33bn to the Scottish and UK economies.

“The projects agreed today 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,” said Brown.

Cllr Willie Innes, East Lothian Council leader, added that the Regional Housing Programme in particular will help accelerate investment in affordable housing, including at Blindwells – a site which is significant for East Lothian’s future. 

“Another important element is helping to develop our people, and I warmly welcome the allocation of resources towards skills programmes which have the potential to strengthen the workforce, ensuring that East Lothian is well positioned to build strong, sustainable economic growth,” said Cllr Innes.

And Cllr Shona Haslam, leader of Scottish Borders Council, stated that a “focus for us will be driving forward the development of the Central Borders Business Park in Tweedbank”.

“This builds on the success of the Borders Railway and is yet another example of the council seeking to maximise the economic benefits that the railway provides,” she concluded.

Top Image: Saffron Blaze

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