Vital projects funded by the Tay Cities Deal could be put at risk by the general election, The Courier can reveal.
The December 12 vote will see parliament break-up on Wednesday – meaning the signing of final heads of terms for the long-awaited deal will be pushed back further.
And well-placed sources say further delays to rubber stamping the completed agreement could make some of the planned projects “unaffordable”.
The initial terms of the multi-million pound cash injection were signed off last November.
It will fund major projects like a third road bridge across the Tay north of Perth and developments at the Hutton Institute, St Andrews University and in Dundee.
One source who has worked on a project agreed in the deal said there are fears delaying the final sign-off further would add to overall construction costs for some of the larger projects.
This in turn, they said, meant less money would go to supporting the overall project, as so much of the budget would be consumed in initial costs.
“A lot of the projects were thought up about four or five years ago and with further delays like this, it could mean they won’t be completed a decade after they were first proposed,” said the source.
“The cost of building inflates each year by around 3.5%, and if the money isn’t agreed before the end of the financial year in 2020 then costs will go up again.
“It is ridiculous, it could make projects unaffordable. It has taken so long.”
Purdah rules ban the government from making any announcement until after the election has been settled, with another source saying it is unlikely to be the deal can now be finalised before the new year.
Dundee City Council administration leader John Alexander said: “There is a general feeling of disappointment the final heads of terms could not be signed off a year after the initial terms were signed.
“We had anticipated it all could have been finalised before the end of the year, but the general election has put paid to that.
“Everyone involved in this project is really keen to be getting on with the projects which were put forward, there is a significant amount of investment to be put in which will boost jobs and the economy but if this cannot be signed off then we cannot deliver that investment.
“(Further delay) is not good for any party.”
The initial signing of the Tay Cities Deal in November last year saw more than £700 million promised in investment.
Funding for 23 projects was unlocked as part of the “transformative” deal, with £150 million from both the UK and Scottish Governments to be delivered over the next decade-and-a-half.
Under the deal more than £60m will go to the James Hutton Institute in Invergowrie, £37m of investment will be ploughed into local tourism and culture, more than £10m will go towards a cyber security centre in Dundee, several million will be invested in St Andrews University’s Eden Campus and £15m will go towards a Perth bus and rail interchange project.
Angus Council administration leader David Fairweather said: “We are disappointed. We have come so far and put in so much work to get it signed off, with business cases put forward hoping it would be done within a year.
“It is just one of these things we will have to take on the chin.
“I have been in touch with our local MP, Kirstene Hair, and the Scottish Office about the issue.”
A Tay Cities Deal spokesman said: “We are continuing to work with the UK and Scottish Government to deliver the Tay Cities Deal.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The UK Government will be in purdah as a result of the upcoming general election and, as a result, the full heads of term cannot be signed.
“We will be urging them to agree to sign the heads of term as soon as possible after the election.”
A UK Government spokesman said: “We signed the heads of terms of the Tay Cities Deal at the end of last year, and since then we have been working closely with local partners.
“Good progress has being made on the detailed business cases for all of the projects.”