Emergency meeting to discuss City Deal delays

© SuppliedPete Wishart.
Pete Wishart.

Emergency talks are to be held to discuss delays to the Tay Cities Deal.

The potential £1.8 billion package was due to be signed off in early 2018 but as Westminster prepares for a six-week recess at the end of the month, concerns about the agreement are growing.

Perth and North Perthshire MP Pete Wishart has ordered an emergency session of the Scottish Affairs Committee, which he chairs, to be held on Tuesday.

“The committee is keen to hear about how City Deals are being delivered and progressed right across Scotland and we want to hear from cities and regions at various stages of delivery,” he said.

“Critically, we want to be assured that everything is okay with the Tay Cities Deal. This was supposed to be signed off already and we are keen to explore the issues around the delay and be assured that everything remains on track.

“The Tay Cities Deal is absolutely vital for the whole Tay region and in my constituency of Perth and North Perthshire many projects are now dependent upon the support anticipated from the city deal. I hope our committee will secure a number of answers to these questions.”

Leaders had hoped the Tay Cities Deal, which will benefit Dundee, Fife, Angus and Perth and Kinross, would be given priority after the Stirling and Clackmannanshire package was signed off in May but it is now unlikely to be finalised before the summer break.

The wish-list includes funding to capitalise on the emerging oil and gas decommissioning industry, as well as transport improvements and investment in business and the arts.

Secretary of state for Scotland, David Mundell, is confirmed to give evidence at the emergency session, as well as Paul Wheelhouse, Scotland’s minister for energy connectivity and the islands, Dr Morag Watt, the Scottish Government’s cities team leader, and various representatives from councils who have already benefited from city deals.

David Martin, the chief executive of Dundee City Council, will also attend.

Mr Wishart will ask that the UK Government matches funding given by Holyrood, after the Scottish Government upped its share for Stirling and Clackmannanshire by £5 million at the 11th hour.

‘The Tay Cities deal is worth some £1.84 billion to the region and some £826 million was offered from the Scottish and UK Governments,” he said.

“We want to be reassured that this sum will be fully delivered and that the Tay Cities Deal will be funded in full.

“We also want to be assured that the UK Government will match the funds from the Scottish Government, given that the Scottish Government picked up more of the tab on the recent Stirling and Clackmannanshire deal.”

A spokesman from the UK Treasury said: “The UK Government is backing cities in Scotland and city region deals lift the local economy.

“That is why we’ve committed over £1 billion to city deals in Scotland since 2014, with more to come. We are committed to delivering a Tay Cities deal.”