Signed, sealed – time to de­liver

CITIES DEAL: Coun­cil­lors and min­is­ters agree terms

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - JAMIE BUCHAN

A his­toric agree­ment on Tay Cities Deal fund­ing will pave the way for more than £700 mil­lion of in­vest­ment and cre­ate thou­sands of jobs across Tay­side and north Fife.

Coun­cil lead­ers joined rep­re­sen­ta­tives of both the UK and Scot­tish gov­ern­ments for a mile­stone cer­e­mony in Perth.

The Heads of Terms doc­u­ment, signed af­ter months of pro­longed ne­go­ti­a­tions, will kick­start a trans­for­ma­tion of cul­tural as­sets, in­fra­struc­ture and ed­u­ca­tional es­tab­lish­ments across the four neigh­bour­ing lo­cal au­thor­ity areas.

The deal in­tends to se­cure vi­tal fund­ing for the long-awaited trans­for­ma­tion of Perth City Hall, as well as a world-lead­ing foren­sic re­search cen­tre in Dundee.

It could also pay for a green en­ergy com­plex at St An­drews Univer­sity and projects across An­gus.

El­lis Wat­son, Cities Deal re­gional busi­ness group chair­man, said pres­sure should be kept on gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials to de­liver on the pro­pos­als.

“The plot twists that got us here to­day con­tained hor­ror sto­ries of in­ef­fi­ciency, and ev­ery­one con­cerned has to raise their game,” he said.

“There is a sense of real ur­gency... We have to get this deal signed and de­liv­ered in weeks and months, not months and years.”

Tay Cities Deal al­lies have signed off a his­toric doc­u­ment that prom­ises to un­lock thou­sands of jobs and lever in more than £700 mil­lion of in­vest­ment.

The details of the Heads of Terms agree­ment have been thrashed out by coun­cil lead­ers over the last two years.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the UK and Scot­tish gov­ern­ments trav­elled to Perth yes­ter­day morn­ing for the mile­stone sign­ing cer­e­mony.

The “trans­for­ma­tive” pack­age will bankroll 23 ma­jor projects across Perth and Kin­ross, Dundee, Fife and An­gus.

Un­der the deal more than £60m will go to the James Hut­ton In­sti­tute in In­ver­gowrie, £37m of in­vest­ment will be ploughed into lo­cal tourism and cul­ture, more than £10m will go to­wards a cy­ber se­cu­rity cen­tre in Dundee, sev­eral mil­lion will be in­vested in St An­drews Univer­sity’s Eden Cam­pus and £15m will go to­wards a Perth bus and rail in­ter­change project.

It is hoped the agree­ment will com­ple­ment ac­tion be­ing taken to soften the blow of job losses at Dundee’s Miche­lin tyre fac­tory.

Both gov­ern­ments will in­vest £150m each over the next 10 to 15 years, with an ex­tra £50m pledged by Holy­rood. Fund­ing for projects will be sub­ject to “ro­bust” busi­ness cases.

In­fra­struc­ture Sec­re­tary Michael Mathe­son said: “This area has huge po­ten­tial for growth and the Cities Deal will help us re­alise that po­ten­tial.

“De­vel­op­ing the right skills is what will make the dif­fer­ence to peo­ple be­ing able to ac­cess op­por­tu­ni­ties and new jobs through the deal. That’s why the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ting up to £20m for a Re­gional Skills De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme, to re­duce skills short­ages and sup­port peo­ple re-skill into new ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

He said: “The new V&A gives the re­gion a fo­cus, but there is so much more to of­fer within the Tay re­gion, from im­proved cul­tural venues to marine tourism. Through this deal, the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment will work with re­gional part­ners, na­tional agen­cies and the pri­vate sec­tor to de­velop a pro­gramme of in­vest­ment that can demon­strate eco­nomic im­pact, im­prove in­clu­sive growth and de­velop eco­nomic as­sets in cul­ture, her­itage and our creative in­dus­tries.”

Re­fer­ring to a series of de­lays that pro­longed the ne­go­ti­a­tion process, Scot­tish Sec­re­tary David Mun­dell added: “It has taken longer than I think ev­ery­one around this ta­ble had hoped to get to this point, but we have ar­rived at a sub­stan­tial pack­age.

“I’m de­lighted that we have got this over the line. I un­der­stand peo­ple’s frus­tra­tions and there are many rea­sons why it has taken this long.”

Yes­ter­day’s an­nounce­ment was de­layed fol­low­ing last month’s dev­as­tat­ing news by Miche­lin.

John Alexan­der, leader of Dundee City Coun­cil, said: “This rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone on our jour­ney to­wards an eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion across all four au­thor­i­ties.

“But this is ab­so­lutely not the end of the road.”

Pic­ture: Mhairi Ed­wards.

At the sign­ing yes­ter­day, back from left: David Fair­weather of An­gus Coun­cil; El­lis Wat­son, chair­man of the Tay Cities En­ter­prise Ex­ec­u­tive; Karen Mar­jo­ram of Fife Coun­cil; Pro­fes­sor Sir Pete Downes, Dundee Univer­sity prin­ci­pal and chair­man of the Tay Cities Deal Higher and Fur­ther Ed­u­ca­tion Fo­rum. Front, from left: Scot­tish Sec­re­tary David Mun­dell; Scot­tish Trans­port, In­fra­struc­ture and Con­nec­tiv­ity Sec­re­tary Michael Mathe­son; Mur­ray Lyle of Perth and Kin­ross Coun­cil and John Alexan­der of Dundee City Coun­cil.

Pic­ture: Mhairi Ed­wards.

David Mun­dell MP with Michael Mathe­son MSP and Coun­cil­lor Mur­ray Lyle just af­ter the deal was signed at Perth Civic Hall yes­ter­day.

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