£85m for cross-border growth deal
The Scottish Government has pledged to invest £85 million over ten years in an initiative to drive economic growth across the Borders region.
The Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal aims to boost economic development activity across a range of themes, including digital connectivity, tourism, regeneration and skills.
The growth deal is the first cross-border deal of its kind, bringing together five cross-border local authorities - Dumfries and Galloway Council, Scottish Borders Council, Carlisle City Council, Cumbria County Council, and Northumberland County Council.
The specific projects and activities to be supported will be announced over the coming months, as part of a Heads of Terms agreement, following detailed discussions with the UK Government on its investment in the deal.
Infrastructure secretary Michael Matheson is now calling for the UK Government to match his funding commitment for the deal when Chancellor Philip Hammond announces his Spring Statement today.
Announcing the Scottish Government’s commitment, Mr Matheson said: “I am delighted to confirm that the Scottish Government is investing up to £85m in the Borderlands Deal to support and develop the South of Scotland economy.
“Alongside the establishment of a new enterprise agency for the south of Scotland, and the activity being taken forward by the South of Scotland economic partnership, this investment will help to drive inclusive growth that delivers significant and lasting economic benefits for individuals, businesses and communities right across the region.
“I call on the UK Government to match our financial commitment, over the same timescale of ten years, to deliver a package of transformational investment that will harness the region’s full economic potential.”
A UK Government spokesman said: “The Borderlands Growth Deal will bring transformative change to the region and we expect to announce further progress very soon.
“The UK Government’s commitment will be based on our assessment of the projects that have come forward, not on arbitrary challenges.
“It is essential for the future of the Growth Deals programme - which has already seen the UK Government commit more than £1.3bn across Scotland - that partners continue to work collaboratively.”