£90m city deal signed for Stirling and Clackmannanshire

Written by Jenni Davidson on 31 May 2018 in News

The deal will see investment in a digital district, environment centre and aquaculture innovation hub to create thousands of jobs

The launch of the Sirling and Clackmannanshire city deal bid in 2016 - Image credit: Stirling Council

A £90m city deal between the UK Government, Scottish Government and Stirling and Clackmannanshire councils has been signed for the central Scotland area.

The deal will seek to develop infrastructure and the economy across the region with a view to attracting private sector investment and creating more than 5,000 jobs over the 15 years of the plan.

It was originally announced that the Scottish and UK governments would each invest £45.1m.

The Scottish Government then said it would put in a further £5m, taking its total investment to £50.1m.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: “Today’s announcement brings the UK Government’s investment in UK city region deals in Scotland to more than £1 billion.

“All of Scotland’s seven cities either have, or are in negotiation for, a deal. And talks are also underway on the Borderlands and Ayrshire growth deals.

“The UK Government is working hard to boost economic growth right across the UK.

“We want to work with the Scottish Government where we can to ensure the sustainability and prosperity of Scotland’s economy.”

Cabinet Secretary for the Economy Keith Brown said: “The Scottish Government has been fully committed to this deal throughout and I have been clear about the importance of this region to Scotland.

“That is why we are prepared to invest at the level we expected, to ensure the region delivers its economic potential.

“Our additional £5 million of investment means our total contribution to the people of Stirling and Clackmannanshire is £50.1 million.

“Our investments in the city region deal and beyond will ensure this region which has played a key role in Scotland’s rich history, will be able to make a positive contribution to Scotland’s future prosperity.”

Plans for the area include the creation of a new international environment centre that will aim to draw academic expertise from across Scotland, the UK and the world.

There will also be a new aquaculture innovation hub – unique in the UK – with four aquatic research facilities that between them will provide the full range of marine environmental conditions.

A digital district is planned for Stirling, with a programme of investment in digital skills, training and business development, alongside the creation of digital hubs in Callander and Alloa.

The extra £5m Scottish Government investment will be used to create a new business park at Kildean and support the next stage of proposed new infrastructure in Callander.

In addition to those the opening of a Scottish Tartan Centre is expected to increase tourism, while land will be released by the MOD for housing and business use and improved active travel routes and regional connectivity are proposed for the region.

Stirling Council leader Scott Farmer said: “This deal will help Stirling Council write the first page of a fresh new chapter in this area’s ancient, famous and storied history.

“Today we focus on our future by using this investment to not just build on what we have and know, but to expand, grow and truly flourish in the modern world.

“Our aim is to bring change and innovation to the people, businesses and communities of the entire region and the funding brought forward with the city region deal puts the power in our hands to achieve that.”

However, during First Minister’s Questions SNP MSP Bruce Crawford criticised the UK Government for “overpromising and under-delivering”, suggesting that it had in reality committed only £40.1m because £5m was the notional value of the MOD’s disused Forthside land.

He said Conservative peer Lord Duncan had promised that the UK Government would hand over surplus MoD land for nil value.

The Scottish Government’s spend on city deals stands at £1.3bn to £1bn from the UK Government, he said.

Crawford commented: “The Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal is a vote of confidence in the area that will help build communities and transform our regional economies going forward.
 
“However, I am disappointed that the Tory government has overpromised and under-delivered on this deal – failing to match the SNP Scottish Government’s contribution by millions of pounds.
 
“The Westminster government can and must find the funds to match the SNP government’s commitment to the city region deals. It is time for the Tories to stump up their fair share for Scotland.”

The First Minister responded that she had been “hoping to see a UK Government investment of £50 million pounds” and that it was “disappointing” that the UK Government had committed to “significantly less” than that.

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