Glasgow City Region unveils £250m boost for vital infrastructure
Glasgow City Region today announced a £250 million funding boost for vital infrastructure work which will help kick start the region’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery and play a key part in supporting thousands of jobs and businesses.
The funding forms part of the £1.13 billion UK and Scottish Government funded City Deal.
Susan Aitken, chair of the Glasgow City Region Cabinet and leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “Communities have really started to see the delivery of the City Deal’s promise and its clear transformational effect and the next five years have always been about driving forward that investment and projects on the ground.
“As we plan for our re-emergence from the greatest crisis in generations, it’s crucial that we accelerate activity on the things we already know we need to build a city region economy, one which delivers for all people and a sustainable future.
“The City Deal has a critical role on that road to recovery and renewal. In the months and years ahead, a monumental effort at all levels of government will be required to resuscitate our post-pandemic economy and I am committed to working with UK and Scottish ministers to maximise the value and impact of the Glasgow City Region Deal.”
The announcement was prompted by formal confirmation from government to the eight City Regional member councils of their successful Gateway Review - the first of three reviews over the twenty year City Deal which unlock funding for key infrastructure projects. The Review, carried out by an independent company, recognised significant successes across the City Deal to date and commended the partners for their focus on delivering inclusive economic growth and for their strong partnership and shared vision to transform the Regional economy.
Last year marked the first five years of the Deal which has already made significant progress, with over £216m spent and City Region businesses benefitting from a £79m boost in contracts won (at end March 2020). A number of major projects have completed or are well underway, including Europe’s first ever ‘Smart’ canal and the £18m ‘street in the sky’ bridge at Sighthill, one of the largest regeneration projects of its type outside of London.
At the beginning of 2020, anticipated infrastructure spend in the next five years was set to be £700m – more than three times spend to date, with construction expected to be completed for most projects. However, in line with government advice, contractors have currently suspended construction on all projects and work will now take place to revisit the infrastructure build programme in light of delays.
Despite this, the City Deal remains very much underway, with extensive ‘back office’ work progressing on the procurement of suppliers and services and on activities such as project design which can still be carried out, some by local consultancy businesses.
And the £250m funding boost is set to support a whole programme of work in the next five years, helping to create and support thousands of much needed jobs for the local economy.
Work to improve transport and connectivity, a key focus of the £1bn programme, will move forward, including a feasibility study on proposals for a Glasgow metro system - a sustainable transport solution which has the potential to greatly improve access to jobs and build on our status as a global city region.
Sustainable and inclusive travel and transport projects feature widely and include road improvements, bridges and active travel initiatives - such as cycle and pedestrian schemes, park and rides, enhanced public realm to improve greenspace, accessibility and encourage walking and cycling.
In fact, by 2035, the City Deal is set to have delivered 53 km of cycle routes and 30 km of new pedestrian routes.
Works completed to date include the Avenues pilot scheme at Sauchiehall Street where widened pavements, new cycle routes and greater resilience to the impacts of climate change through features such as trees and rain gardens encourage more cycling and walking. The City Deal is funding this £115m project to redevelop 17 streets in Glasgow city centre - the biggest project of its kind in the UK.
Extensive remediation works will also continue to unlock land in key locations for private development, with new roads, thousands of new homes built and new commercial, industrial and residential floor space realised through projected follow-on investment.
Scottish secretary Alister Jack said: “It is great to see the UK Government’s investment of £523m in the Glasgow City Region Deal continue to bring many benefits to the city and beyond. This funding for vital infrastructure work will help significantly as we look to recover from the COVID pandemic and plan for the future.
“The UK Government has committed over £1.4bn to city and growth deals across Scotland, promoting opportunities, creating jobs and attracting further investment.”
Michael Matheson MSP, cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented global crisis which has fundamentally changed every aspect of our lives. This further investment into the Glasgow City Region Deal from our total funding of £500m, combined with the package of support we have announced for businesses across the country, will support the region to plan its economic recovery from COVID and thrive in the future.”