Leaders from Tayside, north-east Fife and Angus will sign the long-awaited Tay Cities Region Deal in an online ceremony today.
Final agreement on the £700m investment in 26 key regional projects comes more than two years after leading local, Scottish and UK government figures, business chiefs and educators agreed initial terms.
It is the seventh regional growth deal signed in Scotland as both governments try to bolster economic growth in local economies.
Both Scottish and UK Governments have pledged £150 million each, unlocking a further £400 million of further investment.
The deal’s architects hope the investment will create more 6,000 jobs in a wide variety of sectors, including tourism, food and drink, creative industries, environment, digital, decommissioning, engineering, biomedical, forensic science and health and social care.
The delay has been branded “farcical”, with concern it has already made some of the proposed projects obsolete.
‘Show of government faith’
Ellis Watson, chair of Tay Cities Region Deal Enterprise Forum, said: “It is up to us all now to use this show of government faith to cement the Tay Cities area as a connected, innovative, inclusive and internationally-focused environment that people want to live, work and invest in.”
Key commitments include £62 million for plant research at the James Hutton Institute in Invergowrie, £25m for life sciences projects in Dundee, £26.5m for St Andrews University’s sustainable energy plant in Guardbridge and a £26.5m fund to support ‘mercury’ projects in Angus.
The deal is an agreement between the UK Government, Scottish Government, Angus, Dundee City, Fife and Perth & Kinross councils along with the business and higher and further education sectors.
Virtual signing ceremony
The document itself will be signed by partners at an online-only signing ceremony in line with Covid-19 restrictions.
Fife Council co-leader Cllr David Ross, chair of the Tay Cities Region Deal Joint Committee, said: “I am very pleased that we are now finally in a position to sign the Tay Cities Deal.
“The deal provides a programme of sustained investment for the next 10 years. It forms an important part of our plans to improve economic outcomes for everyone.”
Cllr David Fairweather, Angus Council leader, said he was “proud to sign this deal for Angus”, while Dundee City Council leader John Alexander hailed “another important milestone for Dundee and for Tayside.”
Cllr Murray Lyle, Perth and Kinross leader, welcomed “the next steps in moving forward with the delivery and the benefits it will bring.”
UK and Scottish Governments promise more jobs
Ministers from UK and Scottish Governments highlighted the potential of the deal to transform the region.
SG infrastructure secretary Michael Matheson said: “I am delighted to sign the Tay Cities Region Deal and confirm our £150 million investment at a time of unprecedented need.
“In these uncertain times, these investments will deliver much needed jobs across the region.”
UK Government minister Iain Stewart said it was a “landmark signing”.
“The deal will create thousands of jobs through innovative projects,” he added.
Professor Nigel Seaton, principal of Abertay University and chair of the Tay Cities Region Deal Higher and Further Education Forum, said: “This deal will improve the lives of the region’s residents and create many new opportunities for the future.
“Inclusive growth has been placed at the heart of the deal and it is designed to enable our regional economy to thrive while increasing economic participation, reducing inequalities, and attracting and retaining talent.”