Budget boost for Borderlands Initiative

The border is not seen as a barrier to local authorities working together to promote the economic growth of communities in both England and Scotland.
The border is not seen as a barrier to local authorities working together to promote the economic growth of communities in both England and Scotland.

Cross border local authority partners welcomed the inclusion of the Borderlands Initiative in last week’s UK Chancellor’s budget.

In his budget speech Philip Hammond said: “I can confirm that progress is being made on city deals for Tay Cities and Stirling, and on a growth deal for the Borderlands.”

The Scottish Government has already indicated its support for the project which aims to overcome political and cross-border differences to provide opportunities for the area’s economic stability.

The Borderlands Initiative brings together five cross-border local authorities of Carlisle City Council, Cumbria County Council, Dumfries & Galloway Council, Northumberland County Council and Scottish Borders Council to promote economic growth and competitiveness focusing on digital technology, innovation, low carbon and energy.

Earlier this year the initiative submitted a formal proposition to the UK and Scottish governments, focusing on the factors which make the area attractive to investors, visitors and those who wish to relocate.

A spokesperson for the Initiative said: “Our shared ambition is to play our full part in the regional and wider UK economy and unlock the potential of the south of Scotland and north of England.

“Discussions with both governments have been positive and we welcome the inclusion of the Borderlands Initiative in the Chancellor’s budget statement, which now marks the start of the next stage in the process. The initiative remains at a relatively early stage, but we look forward to ongoing discussion with both governments, with a view to securing agreement as soon as possible.”

Councillor Shona Haslam, leader of Scottish Borders Council, said: “Sustainable economic growth and encouraging more people to visit, live and work are shared objectives, and this announcement is an important next step towards achieving potentially significant funding for the region. For the Scottish Borders, the Borderlands Initiative, the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal and the South of Scotland Enterprise Agency can all help to drive inclusive growth, investment and improved infrastructure.”