Chancellor Rishi Sunak could rubber-stamp the long-awaited Tay Cities Deal next week, says Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross.
The cities deal is expected to be worth around £700 million and will fund projects across Tayside and Fife, including the controversial Cross Tay Link Road, and create thousands of jobs.
Almost two years after the initial head of terms on the deal was signed, Mr Ross said the UK Government was now “in a good place to deliver”.
The Scottish Tory leader told us he had been in meetings with the Chancellor and Boris Johnson this week to discuss the inclusion of the Tay deal, and several other Scottish deals, in next week’s comprehensive spending review announcement.
He said: “I’ve been doing a lot of work as leader of the party with colleagues in the Scotland Office to push this forward and to try to reprofile the money that the UK Government is putting in.
“I think it’s the investment that is going into the Tay cities growth deal, the Moray deal, the Islands deal is great, but I’d like to see that profile reduced, I’d like to see that investment going in over a shorter period.
“I think we’re in a good place now to push this on and get that reprofiling so we can see the benefits of these deals sooner rather than later.”
“I think we’re in a good place to deliver,” he added.
Criticism of deal delays
In November 2018, the Scottish and UK Governments agreed to provide £150 million each as part of the city deal, which covers the Angus, Dundee, Fife and Perth and Kinross local authority areas.
At the time it was said the project could bring in hundreds of millions of pounds in investment, potentially securing more than 6,000 jobs over the period.
In January 2019 the Scottish Government announced it would provide an additional £50 million investment, with this going on transport, infrastructure and manufacturing projects.
Infrastructure Secretary Michael Matheson told MSPs earlier this month that the Scottish Government has been ready to sign the Tay Cities Deal for a “considerable time” and hit out at delays.
Scotland Office minister Iain Stewart, responding to criticism earlier this month, said the delays had been “for a good reason” and would result in a better deal.