£90m growth deal confirmed for Falkirk
A £90m growth deal has been confirmed for Falkirk, with money invested by both the UK and Scottish governments.
The UK Government will contribute £40m, while the Scottish Government will put in up to £50m, £10m of which is committed to work on the green economy.
The funding, which will be invested over 10 years, will be used for economic development in areas such as infrastructure, transport, innovation, sustainable tourism, energy and skills.
It will also help to support the region’s chemical manufacturing industry at Grangemouth in the move to a low-carbon economy.
The specific projects and activities to be supported will be announced over the coming months as part of a heads of terms agreement.
Regional growth deals are agreements between the UK Government, the Scottish Government and local government aimed at bringing about long-term strategic approaches to improving infrastructure and growing regional economies.
The Falkirk growth deal is the 11th regional deal in Scotland.
Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The Falkirk growth deal demonstrates our commitment to supporting the region and delivering long-term benefits to the local communities and businesses.
“We will continue to work with our partners in Falkirk and the UK Government, supported by our enterprise and skills agencies, to help them to consider proposals that will unlock investment and drive inclusive growth across the area, creating a fairer, greener and more inclusive wellbeing economy
“The Scottish Government has now committed more than £1.8 billion to city region and growth deals and related investments across Scotland.”
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “We know that city region and growth deals will be vital to Scotland’s economic recovery from coronavirus.
“The Falkirk growth deal will enable the regional economy to innovate, boosting investment and providing sustainable, high-quality jobs.
“The pandemic has called for extraordinary economic measures, and the UK Government has done everything we can to support jobs and businesses.
“We have supported 900,000 jobs in Scotland with our furlough and self-employed schemes, including 18,500 in Falkirk.
“This new deal brings the UK Government’s investment in growth deals across Scotland to £1.46 billion.
“We look forward to working with our partners in Falkirk and the devolved administration in Scotland to develop innovative and effective proposals.”
Falkirk Council welcomed the funding but suggested it should have been higher to cover what is planned for the area.
Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn, leader of Falkirk Council, said: “The offer of £40m growth deal support from the UK Government towards the delivery of the investment zone is a step forward.
“The award will be match funded by Scottish Government for £40m as well as an additional £10m for green economy ambitions.
“We welcome this offer of support and will work with Scottish and UK governments to progress this initiative while seeking further assistance to deliver on the full scale of the ambition for our area’s economy.
“The award however is relatively low considering our population and large-scale ambitions we have for the area and Grangemouth’s strategic importance to the Scottish and UK economies.
“Our plans also included national-scale plans such as a transition to a low-carbon future and significant reduction in climate change.
“The investment zone for Falkirk-Grangemouth aims to transform the area’s economic fortunes at a vitally important time, especially post-COVID-19.
“We will continue to push for more funding sources to ensure the vital role the local economy plays in Scotland and further afield is recognised and supported leading to large scale employment opportunities as well as enabling innovation.”