When are we going to see the meat of the Tay Cities Deal – let alone its fruits?
I don’t think I am alone in my frustration at what has been an ultra low profile bid.
There should be a sense of excitement and anticipation at the possibility of a potential billion pound-plus cash injection in this area and the creation of thousands of new job opportunities.
But I don’t see it and I certainly don’t feel it when talking to representatives of the private sector locally.
I understand it takes time, energy and commitment to build a consensus that crosses the political divides thrown up by multiple local authorities and get everyone moving in the same direction.
I also understand the devil is in the detail when putting together such a complex, multi-faceted bid.
And while I trust that deal lead David Littlejohn and his team have been doing a lot behind-the-scenes to facilitate the bid, the front of house activity has definitely been lacking.
What has been pro-actively done to engage the public and the business community in Tay Cities?
I’d be willing to wager a pound that out of 100 people on the street, very few would either know about the bid or have anything more than a cursory knowledge of its existence.
The deal’s dedicated website itself is hardly a helpful resource if you want to bring yourself up to speed.
There’s not even a full rundown of the more than 50 projects – some of them transformatory in nature such as the Cross Tay Link Road at Perth or a bid by Dundee University to establish the region as a genuine world leader in forensic medicine – that have made the long-list of schemes which could potentially receive financial support.
And while the information on the deal website is limited, what is there you have to hunt for.
Just two sets of documents have been published this year by the joint committee tasked with taking the Tay Cities deal forward.
If you have the inclination to check, the nugget contained in the May 11 papers is that a heads of terms agreement – a key interim milestone in the bid process – will not be concluded until next month at least and Stirling / Clackmannanshire are ahead in the queue.
Thereafter, the bid will move into a potentially months-long new phase in which the bid team will have to produced a costed and timed delivery plan and “project owners” will be asked to set out more detailed business cases.
The people I have spoken to privately about the bid are concerned any initial momentum gained has been lost.
And there is a risk with further procedural delays of focus drifting again.
That must not be allowed to happen.
The Tay Cities Deal – which is made up of a series of asks and offers – is key to our economic security and prosperity for decades to come.
My ask is for the deal team to communicate better and more widely.
My offer is to help if I can.