Scotland's city region deals have “significant issues” according to a Holyrood committee

Written by Kate Shannon on 9 January 2018 in News

The Local Government and Communities Committee published a report following their inquiry on the subject

Bob Doris: Picture credit - Scottish Parliament

Scotland’s city region deals have “significant issues” which must be addressed, according to a Holyrood committee.

The deals, which have seen a £3.3bn investment in Scotland so far, were extended to Scotland as a partnership between the UK Government, the Scottish Government, local authorities and other partners to boost jobs and grow regional economies.

According to the Local Government and Communities Committee, local people and businesses have not been involved enough and should not just be “informed after decisions have been made”.

Committee convener Bob Doris MSP said: “We welcome the significant investment of £3.3 billion to create new jobs and build exciting and thriving areas around our major cities – some of which are in the most impoverished and deprived areas of Scotland.

“But it’s clear from the evidence we have heard and our committee visits that there are significant issues with city region deals that must be addressed.

“That’s why we strongly recommend that all governments – national and local – work together and agree to a single focus, as a key priority should be maximising the benefits for local communities.”

While acknowledging that these deals are in their infancy, the committee said there are “confused and cluttered” priorities between the UK Government, Scottish Government and local authorities.

For example, investments made by the UK Government focus on purely economic and bottom-line benefits whereas the focus for the Scottish Government is inclusive growth.

Doris added that it’s still not clear how other towns and the more rural and remote areas of Scotland will benefit from these deals.

He said: “There is also a risk that some parts of Scotland could miss out or lose out on the benefits that these projects may bring, and that other initiatives are treated as the poor cousin in comparison.

“In order for city region deals to be a success right across Scotland, we need clarity on when this initiative will be extended to all.

“As these deals are in the early years of a 10-20 year programme of investment, our committee will be keeping a close eye to check whether these improvements have been made and whether further action is required.”

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