Scotland's City Regions - Investing for Success
To say 2016 has been eventful is something of an understatement. International and UK events continue to generate challenges economically and constitutionally but for Scotland’s cities 2016 has been a year of achievement.
The Scottish Government has consistently supported City Region Deals for all of Scotland’s cities so last month’s announcement by the Chancellor confirming the UK Government’s commitment was welcome news. The Scottish Government is a full partner in all the City Region Deals agreed in Scotland so far, matching and in some cases exceeding the financial contributions made by the UK Government.
We have committed to investing up to £760 million over the next 10 to 20 years for City Region Deals in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness with communities in these areas benefitting from housing, digital and infrastructure projects. This investment will also benefit Scotland as a whole, creating thousands of jobs and upskilling local labour markets. We will also continue work to support City Regions developing proposals.
City Region Deals are about boosting inclusive growth. Local authorities, in partnership with their citizens and stakeholders, making decisions on the investments they believe will best boost economic growth in their regions. Devolution in action, having decisions made locally to fit local circumstances.
Details of the Glasgow and Aberdeen deals are already available and I expect to sign the Inverness City Region Deal shortly.
While cities work with their regions, they also work together, and with the Scottish Government, through the Scottish Cities Alliance. The Alliance is supported by the £7 million Cities Investment Fund and aims to boost jobs and investment.
I’m pleased to say it’s been another successful year for the Alliance. The £24 million Smart Cities Programme is looking to make our cities more efficient and greener, plus more attractive to potential investors.
This investment aims to use Smart City technology to transform cities into world-leading digital hubs which will improve services and empower residents. It’s great to see this work now entering its delivery phase and I look forward to seeing how it can make our cities more internationally competitive and boost economic growth.
The Alliance also promotes £7.5 billion of investment opportunities across our cities through the online searchable Pitch Book. This is beginning to reap rewards with a £50 million investment in Dundee following the £30 million investment in Perth last year.
These are exciting times for cities and I look forward to working with the Alliance and building on this progress in 2017.