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Moray Growth Deal sign off commitment secured for end of 2021

By Alan Beresford

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THE Moray Growth Deal, which will see millions of pounds pumped into the region, should be signed off before the end of the year.

Moray MP and Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Moray MP and Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

Moray MP Douglas Ross has secured a commitment from the UK and Scottish Governments that both administrations will do everything possible to get the ambitious project fully signed off by the end of the year.

The local MP pressed the case for the full deal to be signed off by both governments as Ministers appeared in front of the Scottish Affairs committee of which Mr Ross is a member. The committee were taking evidence on City and Region growth deals across Scotland.

Commenting after the meeting, Mr Ross said: “It was a good opportunity at this week’s Scottish Affairs Committee to once again press the case for the Moray Growth Deal.

"Having both the Scotland Office Minister Ian Stewart and Kate Forbes, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, at the committee with their officials meant the people who will ultimately sign off the deal could hear how important it is to get the full programme agreed in the next couple of months.

“Both Ministers agreed to do everything possible to get the full deal signed off by November and were enthusiastic about the projects that have been identified and the work of the council, partners and the Business Assembly.

“The Moray Growth Deal will provide millions of pounds of investment to our area and will be a boost for the local economy and employment. Signing off the deal in full by the end of the year will release the money from the UK and Scottish Governments, which alongside funding from Moray Council and local businesses, will allow many ambitious projects to get going, such as the planned cultural quarter for Elgin and the aviation academy.

“I campaigned strongly to secure the Moray Growth Deal and the funding that comes with it through the joint investment from both the UK and Scottish governments. The delivery of these projects and many more will show what can be achieved when our two governments work together.

"It will be the people of Moray – as well as our local economy – that will reap the benefits of this joint working."

Moray's MSP Richard Lochhead spoke of the need to diversify the Moray economy.

Moray MSP Richard Lochhead. Picture: Becky Saunderson
Moray MSP Richard Lochhead. Picture: Becky Saunderson

“I know Scottish Ministers have been keen to progress the Moray Growth Deal and given the local impact of Brexit and the pandemic the sooner it moves forward the better.

“There is a need to diversify our local economy and to make sure that we have jobs for the future here on our doorstep. The Moray Growth Deal will help deliver that and of course the Scottish Government has committed to invested £500 million in Moray and the north-east as part of a Just Transition Fund – I hope Moray’s MP took the opportunity to ask UK Government Ministers to match that commitment.”

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Karen Adam praised the Scottish Government's commitment to the deal.

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Karen Adam.
Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Karen Adam.

“I know just how committed the SNP and Scottish Government are to making a success of the Moray Growth Deal," she commented.

"Kate Forbes has been working hard to push this deal along so that Moray is rewarded with the investment residents and local businesses deserve.

“It’s great to see Douglas Ross support the Scottish Government’s plans to deliver significant investment in Moray. I know he will be aware the First Minister also recently announced that the Scottish Government will be investing £500 million into the north-east and Moray so I would also hope to see Douglas Ross welcome this investment and join me in calling on the UK Government to match the Scottish Government’s funding of £500 million for the north-east region and Moray.”

Speaking during the committee, Ms Forbes said the Scottish Government wanted to "make as much progress as possible".

Cabinet Secretary for Finance Kate Forbes.
Cabinet Secretary for Finance Kate Forbes.

She continued: "Obviously, heads of terms were signed last year, in August 2020, so we are just past that one-year anniversary of the deal being signed.

"I want to make rapid progress; I know there is some concern, which you may share, about how quickly things are moving, but we are working with our counterparts in the UK Government and Moray Council to agree the full deal as soon as possible.

"The process requires regional partners to produce the business cases that ultimately underpin the significant investment. We would hope to reach the full deal milestone later this year – hopefully by November, if everything goes to plan."

The Moray Growth Deal is a regional deal designed to boost economic growth across Moray. It is a long-term plan centred around specific projects designed to transform the economy, address concerns around encouraging young people to live and work in the area and address gender inequality in employment.

It brings together Scottish and UK governments, Moray Council, partners from across the public and third sectors and private businesses. Each of these partners will be investing in a better future for Moray.

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