Business leaders gather at Dundee College with representatives of city employability projects today. To coincide with this event, First Minister Alex Salmond praises The Courier for its Let’s Get Dundee/Let’s Get Fife Working campaigns.
“I would like to offer my whole-hearted support to The Courier’s campaign to get Dundee and Fife working,” writes Mr Salmond. “It is a valuable local initiative which will play its part in helping Scotland emerge from the downturn.”
“The government understands that families and business in Tayside and Fife and across Scotland are facing difficult times and that’s why we are doing all we can to create, safeguard and secure jobs and to spark economic recovery.
“In these challenging times, it’s important that national and local government, local businesses and community partners…harness their resources to support individuals and families and maximise opportunities for recovery and investment.
“It is also important for us to recognise, celebrate and promote the strengths of the economy and workforce in this part of Scotland, which continues to play a leading role in areas like life sciences and Scotland’s computer games industry. Dundee’s universities and financial services sector are also making a substantial contribution to the nation’s economic future.”
“The Scottish Government recently announced £1m of support from the European Regional Development Fund for the games industry to assist the start-up of 20 new development companies and support 30 existing enterprises.
“This initiative, managed by Abertay University, will reinforce Dundee’s reputation as a centre of excellence and increase the games development industry’s turnover by £3m.
“Meanwhile, the Digital Media IP Fund, backed by £3m from the Creative Scotland Innovation Fund and Scottish Enterprise, will maximise the creative, cultural and commercial opportunities presented by new and emerging technologies across Scotland…
“Of course, with more economic powers we could and would do so much more. With the full fiscal powers of independence, Scotland could use the tax system effectively to enhance production in industries like the games industry and build a stronger future for our talented creative entrepreneurs.
“That’s why we are offering the people of Scotland the chance to have their say in a free and fair referendum on the country’s future.
“Dundee and Fife have also benefited from the European cash injection we announced at the National Jobs Summit at the beginning of the year — £1.6m will support projects in Fife and £1.75m in Dundee, such as Craigowl Communities Skills for Success…
“Meanwhile, thanks to the SNP’s small business bonus scheme, around 1500 small business properties in Dundee and 4000 in Fife last year received a discount on their business rates bill.
“Of these, around 1200 in Dundee and 3300 in Fife paid no rates at all.
“The expansion of the scheme from next month to include small chains will support even more small enterprises. This SNP government has also ensured the lowest ever business rate poundage, matching the rate in England and giving Scottish businesses a saving worth almost £220m.
“Dundee and Fife are increasingly leading the way with large-scale projects such as Dundee Waterfront. The £70m business district will transform the Tayside economy…
“It is expected to create at least 1000 jobs over 10 years, generate more than £500m for Scotland’s economy and bring an additional £270m of private-sector investment in the project.
“We are committed to supporting the Victoria and Albert at Dundee and will contribute funding toward its construction.
“The project will bring an internationally recognised brand to Dundee with the potential to attract an estimated half-a-million more visitors, create 900 local jobs and generate £2m extra income for Scotland’s economy.
“This government is also investing in major infrastructure projects such as Fife Energy Park, which will benefit from a share of accelerated Scottish Enterprise investment.
“There is no doubt that these have been challenging times — but, by coming together with the support of campaigns such as Let’s Get Dundee Working, we can ensure that people across Scotland can access more opportunities to improve their lives and their communities.”