Report highlights benefits of Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal
Housing, transport, skills programs and five new data innovation hubs are among the projects that have already benefited from funding from the £1.3 billion Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, a new report has revealed as the deal passes the first £100 million milestone.
The UK and Scottish governments are each investing £300m into deal projects that are expected to create thousands of highly-skilled jobs and opportunities. Regional partners are investing a further £730m in the projects for a total £1.3bn boost for the area.
The annual report, which was approved by the Deal’s Joint Committee last week, showed that £103m has been spent since the deal was signed in 2018.
Projects worth more than half (£736m) of the funding have now been approved, demonstrating the strength and pace of delivery on the 15-year deal. In the past year, this included the £85m business case for the Usher Institute, which will create a world-leading innovation hub to improve the delivery of health and social care services.
The report also highlighted how the deal has responded and adapted to the coronavirus pandemic. Just 11 days after the country was locked down the deal launched a COVID-19 Jobs Support portal, it has allocated £200,000 worth of grants to create data-driven solutions to assist the region’s communities, services and businesses with the recovery, and it has worked with transport operators on a package of emergency measures to support the main routes into and out of Edinburgh.
Cabinet secretary for transport, connectivity and infrastructure, Michael Matheson, said: “City Region and Growth Deals will be a crucial part of our economic recovery from coronavirus (COVID-19) as we work towards a fairer, greener and more inclusive Scotland.
“The region has instinctively worked together to respond to these testing times, and this determination will ensure that we can maximise the benefits of our investment in the years to come, creating jobs and significant growth.”
UK Government Minister for Scotland, Iain Stewart, said: “It’s great to see the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal progressing quickly and delivering for businesses and communities.
Deal partners have responded positively to challenges posed by the pandemic, and as our economy recovers these projects will be even more vital to securing jobs and investment for the area.
“The UK Government has committed £300m to the deal with £290m of that investment focused on Scotland’s tech sector. This is a hugely important area, with a recent survey showing 23% of Edinburgh’s workforce employed in digital tech jobs.”
Councillor Norman Hampshire, convener of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal Joint Committee, added: “The Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal continued to make great progress in its second year. On top of delivering projects across the innovation, skills, transport, culture and housing themes and bolstering regional infrastructure, a further major benefit has been the strategic coordination we are seeing across these areas.”