With such a huge investment on the horizon, Scotland’s capital will soon have even more to offer
A new £1bn City Deal for Edinburgh has been agreed, expecting to make a huge difference to the city and even create tens of thousands of new job opportunities.
The UK and Scottish governments are each contributing £300 million to the deal, showing a real commitment to growing the capital’s economy. The investment package also covers the other Lothian authorities, the Borders and Fife.
The deal was finally unveiled on 20th July after fears that it could fall through were quashed by a final round of meetings.
Edinburgh is the fourth city in Scotland to have a City Deal agreed, following in the footsteps of Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness.
There are a lot of exciting features to the City Deal. For one thing, it will include five new innovation hubs throughout the area. These will promote forward-thinking research into areas like health sciences, food & drink, agri-tech and space. The hubs will be linked to Queen Margaret and Edinburgh universities, Heriot-Watt, the UK’s National Supercomputer Centre at Easter Bush and the Roslin Institute.
There will also be cultural aspects to the deal, such as a brand new 1000-seater concert hall being built directly behind the former Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters in St Andrew Square. This concert hall will act as a permanent home for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
But the deal isn’t all about research and culture. The average citizen can also expect to benefit from the deal.
£50 million will be used to accelerate plans for private housing in areas such as Granton waterfront. Not only that, but £15 million will also be used to set up a new Edinburgh homes company. This will help bring in upwards of £250 million worth of borrowing in order to expand housebuilding in the Scottish capital.
As the city prospers, infrastructure will become ever more important and so money will also be allocated to improving the road network in and around Edinburgh. In particular, financial backing will be given to the improvement of roads in West Edinburgh and the development of the new Sheriffhall roundabout on the City Bypass.
Alongside more housing and improved roads, the deal will also aim to create more job opportunities in the capital. £25 million will be used to reduce skills shortages and boost employability across the whole region.
Along with the £300 million being contributed by both the UK and Scottish governments, a further £200 million is coming from some of the country’s biggest universities. And local councils will also be reaching into their pockets to support this ambitious programme.
The people involved in the deal have not been shy about expressing their excitement.
Council leader Adam McVey said that he’s “delighted” by the announcement, whilst Scottish Government Economy Secretary Keith Brown revealed that the deal is expected to create 21,000 new jobs for the area.
Brown said: “Taken together these projects will help the region continue to thrive and grow, fulfilling our ambitions for the region to be one of the fairest and most inclusive areas in the country.”
David Mundell, Scottish Secretary, said the deal would boost Edinburgh’s economy for years to come: “It will make a real difference to the lives of the people in the region, creating jobs and prosperity and driving investment.”
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