Politics

UK levelling up funding in Scotland hits £1.7bn as Falkirk and Moray growth deals signed off

UK ministers have marked £1.7 billion being spent in Scotland as part of a levelling up strategy – with two city and region growth deals signed off.

The deals for Falkirk and Moray take the total spending on Scottish projects through a series of growth initiatives to £1.5 billion – alongside £200 million from the UK Government’s levelling up strategy.

The Falkirk growth deal is expected to support up to 2,000 jobs and £1 billion of future investment – with 11 projects handed funding after an agreement between the UK Government, the Scottish Government and Falkirk Council.

The plan will allow a just transition plan to be developed for the Grangemouth industrial hub – helping heavy chemicals industries to reach net zero ambitions.

The funding will also allow the creation of centre of excellence in carbon capture and utilization, biotechnology and public transport technology.

The UK and Scottish governments are each contributing £40 million into the Falkirk growth deal – alongside £45 million from Falkirk Council and £5.8 million from Scottish Canals.

Scottish Government Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said the deal will “help regenerate town centres, create new cultural attractions, transform local transport, reskill the workforce and help decarbonise industry”.

She added: “Our investment will ensure communities from across Falkirk and the surrounding area benefit from opportunities created and highlights our commitment to invest in our places and people.”

The Moray growth deal will see the UK and Scottish governments bring forward £32.5 million each, while more than £35 million will be provided by regional bodies.

The deal sets out to attract and retain young people and families in Moray, create new high-quality jobs in existing sectors and create opportunities for future community prosperity, as well as measures to address inequalities such as the gender pay gap.

It is estimated that more than 3,500 jobs will be created directly or indirectly by the deal, 50,000 more tourists attracted to the area, more than 300 affordable new homes constructed, and the growth of 450 businesses supported – increasing the value of the Moray economy by £82 million.

UK Government Minister for Scotland, Iain Stewart, said: “This major investment into Moray will be truly transformational, supporting the area, its people and businesses to reach their full potential.

“Projects including a world-class aerospace campus, manufacturing innovation centre and digital health centre will help turn Moray into a hub for engineering, research and development, fuelling the regional economy and creating high quality jobs. The development of a Cultural Quarter in Elgin will also support economic growth while proudly showcasing the area’s unique heritage and culture.

“The UK Government’s £32.5 million support for the deal is part of £1.7 billion we are investing right across Scotland to level up communities and build back better from the pandemic.”

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