Moray receives £65m investment under joint government deal
The Scottish and UK governments have signed a joint-deal to invest £65m into the Moray region, to develop the economy, culture and tourism in the area.
Moray Council said the announcement of the growth deal was “a game changer” for the region and would create “a wealth of employment opportunities” for young people in the area.
The governments will each contribute £32.5m, to support project focussed on employability and skills programmes, manufacturing innovation, tourism, digital connectivity and regeneration.
UK Government Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington said the growth deal would help “attract and retain people to live and work” in the Moray area.
“These deals are a key part of the UK Government’s long-standing commitment to invest directly in Scotland’s future,” he said.
“They give communities the financial backing to develop projects that place Scotland at the forefront of innovation, technology and connectivity. As we work alongside the Scottish Government and local partners, this deal will help unlock the region’s economic potential for inclusive growth including supporting local services and attracting businesses.”
Scottish Government Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science Richard Lochhead said: “Successful delivery of this deal will create new high-value jobs, help safeguard the local economy and strengthen Moray’s communities.”
Moray launched its bid for the growth deal in 2017, after consultation with those living in the region.
Moray Council director of economic development and infrastructure Rhona Gunn said the investment was “a game-changer for the region, heralding a new decade of economic progression”.
“This substantial investment in infrastructure will encourage our already considerable industries to grow while attracting new businesses and talent into the region,” she said.
The council said projects pursued under the growth deal would be confirmed later this year, but possible plans included developing a cultural quarter in Elgin, which would create “a dynamic and vibrant area for both tourists and residents” which showcased Moray’s food, drink and textiles.
Other ideas include supporting “emerging sectors in aerospace and aviation” and creating new hubs at Moray College which focus on business enterprise, innovation and advanced technologies.
Moray councillor Graham Leadbitter said: “This announcement is the most critical milestone to date and what we, as a Moray partnership, have been working so hard to achieve.”
“In the coming months we’ll be progressing the detailed business cases to reach a final ‘heads of terms’, when the total value of the deal, including all the public and private sector contributions are known,” he said.
Federation of Small Business national council member Pearl Hamilton, who runs a Forres-based small business, said: “At a time of low business confidence, this long-term plan provides much needed optimism.
“Nine in 10 businesses in Moray are small so it is vital that this deal works closely with local operators,” Hamilton said.
“Moray already has high numbers of women in business, and a burgeoning hospitality sector. We need to focus on building up this local economy.”