City Region Deals Progress – Accelerating Fair Economic Growth

Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal to Accelerate Growth

Fife Council members are set to be updated on the progress of two City Region Deals designed to unleash the potential of both the Tay Cities and Edinburgh and South East Scotland regions at Executive Committee, on 21 June 2016.

The Edinburgh and South East Scotland city region, comprising City of Edinburgh, Fife, East Lothian, Midlothian, West Lothian and Scottish Borders Councils are now in a negotiation phase with the Scottish and UK Governments on a City Region Deal that will transform the already fast-growing area, while tackling deprivation.

The Edinburgh Region City Deal vision is built upon accelerating the rate of investment and economic performance by capitalising on world-class assets through growth. City Deal partners have developed a vision that builds on existing strengths in technology, knowledge, culture and international connections, as well as tackling barriers around skills, connectivity, housing and infrastructure.

Proposals for the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal were submitted to the Westminster and Scottish Governments in September 2015. In March this year, Chancellor George Osborne committed to a City Region Deal for Edinburgh and South East Scotland as part of his Spring budget speech.

The region is one of the UK’s major drivers of growth, but the benefits of this are unevenly spread and pockets of deprivation remain within the region.

The City Deal is designed to unlock untapped potential that can be unleashed through new relationships between UK Government, Scottish Government, local authorities, Higher and Further Education and private sector partners.

Priority areas for investment to deliver a step change in economic performance include Innovation Hubs, such as the University of St Andrews’ proposed Innovation Centre at Guardbridge and Strategic Growth Zones, such as the strategic development areas in Rosyth, Dunfermline and Mid-Fife.

The Edinburgh Region City Deal strategy is based around:

  • New infrastructure to unlock key development sites, and for this infrastructure to encourage sustainable travel across a connected region
  • Integrated interventions to accelerate business growth across the region
  • New approaches to support unemployed people, and to shape future skills programmes jointly with public and voluntary sector providers
  • A network of innovation hubs delivered through partnerships between national agencies, universities, local authorities and the private sector
  • A bold approach to deliver our ambitions as a globally recognised smart region
  • A new approach to governance and policy integration to bring together strategic planning functions for the region
  • Investment mechanisms built on forward funding and greater local autonomy to optimise the use of public sector resources

The next stage is for detailed business cases to be developed for the proposed infrastructure programmes, followed by dialogue with public sector, private and third sector agencies, working towards an announcement being made by the end of 2016.

Fife Council Leader David Ross said: “We are moving forward with our proposals to tackle inequality and accelerate substantial economic growth across the region. Through a shared vision the local authorities involved are set to create new ways of doing things. This will give the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region greater autonomy and decision making powers, as well as increase opportunities for learning and development and investment in infrastructure. We are building on the city region’s many strengths, while also tackling inequality.”

“The City Deal presents huge opportunities, but the full benefits will only be realised through working with partner organisations and the private sector supporting the bid.”

Tay Cities Deal for Fair Economic Growth
Recognising the importance and contribution of the Tay Cities economy to North East Fife, Fife Council is providing vital support to develop a City Deal for the Tay Cities Region.

In November 2015, Fife’s Executive Committee agreed to develop a City Deal submission for the Tay Cities region of Perth and Kinross, Dundee, Angus and North-East Fife, focussing on promoting fair economic growth.

Reports to go before councillors in each of the authorities will reveal considerable progress in advancing the bid and the draft proposal that outlines the vision and strategy for the proposed Tay Cities Deal. The proposal is focussed on promoting “fair economic growth” where business growth, social inclusion and skills development are at the heart of a cohesive region of knowledge and creativity.

A City Deal will help bring forward key economic infrastructure projects in the four council areas. Both the Scottish and UK Governments have responded positively to the vision and strategy outlined in the draft bid proposal, and have shown a commitment to work with the local authorities to advance a Tay Cities Deal to deliver the vision.

Fife Council’s Leader, Cllr David Ross, said: "As previously agreed with partners, Fife Council is very supportive of the Tay Cities Bid. We continue to work with the partner local authorities and with other stakeholders from business, the academic sector and key agencies on the development of a bid that will make a significant contribution to the economic growth of the Tay Cities area, including Fife, as well as reducing inequality to create a more prosperous future for all."

To validate and consult on the draft bid proposals, workshops were held with businesses and other stakeholders to discuss their aspirations for the area across four themes:

- Connected Tay
- Innovative Tay
- Inclusive Tay
- International Tay

The feedback will be used to inform the projects and proposals under consideration for inclusion in the final Tay Cities Deal Bid. They will also form part of continuing engagement with the Scottish and UK Governments.

Reports outlining progress and next steps will be discussed at each of the four councils taking part in the Tay Cities Deal over the next two weeks.