First Minister Nicola Sturgeon writes for The Courier following the announcement of £50 million of additional Tay Cities Region funding from the Scottish Government, which includes £40 million for a third Perth bridge over the Tay.
Our ambition is for the Tay cities region to be one of the most economically and culturally vibrant areas in the country, and I am confident the Scottish Government’s £200 million investment will go some way to make that ambition a reality.
The £50m of new funding I announced yesterday for the Cross Tay Link Road and industrial investment will be crucial for the strategic development of the local economy.
Of that, £40m of investment will make it possible for Perth and Kinross Council to progress the Cross Tay Link Road which forms an integral part of the Perth Transport Futures plan, a long held ambition of the local authority.
The new road will reduce congestion in Perth, improve air quality issues in the city centre and Bridgend, and open up sites for housing and economic development.
The remaining £10m will support manufacturing businesses. I know how important manufacturing is to the economy and of course with the uncertainty last year at Michelin, it’s all the more important that we support businesses in this sector. Scottish Enterprise will work with local partners to shape this industrial investment programme.
This £50m is in addition to the Scottish Government’s £150m commitment to the Tay Cities Region Deal, bringing our overall investment in the area to £200m over the next 10 to 15 years.
It is disappointing that, despite previous indications that they would do so, the UK Government is failing to match that figure.
Our funding includes money for projects which will improve connectivity and create jobs across the region in traditional sectors, as well as in hi-tech areas of biomedicine and cyber security.
A major part of our funding will be invested in the delivery of a project to support fair work, and reduce skills shortages and gaps in the region.
That’s why it was particularly fitting that I announced additional investment at Perth College UHI, where I met young people who will see the impact of the Tay Cities Region Deal first-hand, over the next decade.
Against a backdrop of austerity and Brexit uncertainty, our funding will provide a boost for communities and businesses in the area.
More widely, across Scotland our support for city region deals, now totals £1.27 billion with this funding set to deliver long-term economic benefits to people across the country.
There are strong partnerships in the Tay cities region and I look forward to seeing these partnerships mature so the area can continue to grow and thrive.