City Deal needs area’s leading lights on board

Prime Minister Theresa May, City of Edinburgh Council leader Adam McVey and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon sign the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal at the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday August 7, 2018. Theresa May will announce a �1.2 billion city deal for Edinburgh and the south-east of Scotland, with both the Scottish and UK Governments committing �300 million towards this. See PA story POLITICS Scotland. Photo credit should read: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
Prime Minister Theresa May, City of Edinburgh Council leader Adam McVey and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon sign the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal at the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday August 7, 2018. Theresa May will announce a �1.2 billion city deal for Edinburgh and the south-east of Scotland, with both the Scottish and UK Governments committing �300 million towards this. See PA story POLITICS Scotland. Photo credit should read: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Borders representatives are being sought for the Regional Enterprise Council which advises the Edinburgh and South-East Scotland City Region Deal’s joint committee.

The City Regional Deal - a £1.3 billion investment over 15 years - was signed off earlier this month by both the UK and Scottish Governments in partnership with Edinburgh, East Lothian, Fife, Midlothian, Scottish Borders and West Lothian local authorities.

It aims to encourage economic growth and create opportunities across south east Scotland and anyone working in the private or third sectors in the Borders can apply to become a member of the Regional Enterprise Council which will have 12 members.

All local authorities will be represented by at least one member and it is expected that individuals will come from a range of organisation sizes.

Councillor Shona Haslam, leader of Scottish Borders Council, said: “The REC will play an important role in the City Region Deal and we want a group of members that not only represents all the region’s key sectors but also all sizes of business and every geographic area.

“I’d encourage anyone from our local business or third sector community interested in the role to find out more and help us maximise the benefits of the deal for the Scottish Borders and the city region as a whole.

Speaking after the Regional City Deal was signed Councillor Haslam said: “The significant investment in innovation, employability and skills, transport, culture and housing across the whole region will have real benefits for the Scottish Borders.

“For the Borders, the £15 million for the Central Borders Innovation Park at Tweedbank will help deliver much needed high quality business space. This will stimulate business growth, improve our inward investment offer, particularly to high value sectors, and in turn create jobs, especially better quality, higher paid jobs that the Scottish Borders lacks currently.

“This is the first stage in a much larger project that has the potential to deliver hundreds of jobs over many years and bring £353m into the Scottish Borders.”

In addition to the City Region Deal commitment, phase one of the Central Borders Innovation Park will be funded by Scottish Borders Council (£5m) Borders Railway Blueprint (£3.5m), Scottish Enterprise (£1.5m) and the private sector (£4.1m).

A £25m investment over eight years in a region-wide employability and skills programme will also directly benefit the area. Borders College is among the partners working to identify how an integrated regional programme can harness the potential that key employment sectors offer residents and also tackle skills gaps across the city region.

For the Borders, projects looking at construction and digital skills are being explored, as well as a pilot to reduce rural barriers to education and work.

Anyone interested in becoming a member of the Regional Enterprise Council can apply at http://www.acceleratinggrowth.org.uk/rec.