£120M boost for Moray with growth deal milestone
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A £120 MILLION shot-in-the-arm for the Moray economy will soon be on its way.
That follows the news that both the UK and Scottish Government's have given a "firm comitment" to the project.
The Secretary of State for Scotland, Alistair Jack MP, and the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson MSP, have written a joint letter to Moray Council Leader, Cllr Graham Leadbitter, to re-affirm their support for the deal.
They have agreed to sign off on the Heads of Terms - the formal commitment from each government - and that will trigger investment of more than £60million from each government.
And Moray Council’s lead officer for the growth deal, depute chief executive Rhona Gunn, insists that work on the ground will not be delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
She said: “Work to develop projects has continued despite the other pressures which the council and its partners have been under since the crisis began.
“Through the Moray Economic Partnership (MEP) we are looking at economic recovery across Moray and this will include the growth deal, as we recognise the need to build a more productive, inclusive, sustainable and resilient economy both for the immediate future and in the longer term.”
Cllr Leadbitter - who also chairs MEP, welcomed the announcement as a "positive future for Moray post pandemic".
“I welcome the very strong support being shown by the Scottish and UK governments.
"Our growth deal team have continued to work behind the scenes along with civil servants from both governments on the projects, which will be more vital than ever as we start to recover from the Covid emergency.
“These projects will be transformational, seeing tens of millions of pounds invested over a sustained period and injecting new innovation into our local economy.
"Moray has an enormous amount to offer and the strong backing of both Governments is a great endorsement of the work being done and sets the tone for economic recovery.”
Moray MSP Richard Lochhead said: "This commitment from the Scottish and UK Governments to delivering the Moray Growth Deal is to be warmly welcomed. The projects involved will undoubtedly help grow our local economy and create high value jobs in the region, which will be more important than ever now, as we try to navigate the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
“Moray has one of the lowest wage economies in the country and the Growth Deal will create opportunities to not only build the local economy but also to diversify it, to ensure that we have jobs for the future here in our local communities.”
Moray MP Douglas Ross has welcomed progress on the deal.
He said: “I’ve had involvement in the Moray Growth Deal as both the local MP and now a Minister in the Scotland Office. The Joint letter from the Scottish Secretary on behalf of the UK Government and Michael Mathieson for the Scottish Government reiterates the commitment to invest in Moray, supporting some truly transformational projects.
“A lot of work has gone into the Moray Growth Deal and while the current battle to defeat Coronavirus is the number one priority, a lot of work has been done locally and nationally to progress the deal to the stage where we can sign the Heads of Terms, virtually if necessary. This will enable the much-needed funding to come to Moray as soon as possible and allow us to progress with the range of projects that will be supported through the deal.
“The progress shows how positive joint working between the UK and Scottish Governments can deliver for us locally in Moray and I commend everyone who has been involved in getting the Growth Deal to this crucial stage, ready to start delivering for the whole of Moray.”