Signed, sealed – time to deliver
CITIES DEAL: Councillors and ministers agree terms
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.”
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.
David Mundell MP with Michael Matheson MSP and Councillor Murray Lyle just after the deal was signed at Perth Civic Hall yesterday.