Harmony across the border

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Donald Trump has described UK politics as being in “turmoil” but here in the borderlands all parties appear to be in harmony over plans for its economic future.

When the UK Government’s Scottish Affairs Committee met this week to discuss the Borderlands Growth Deal they were told that “all parties involved thought that the UK and Scottish Governments were working well to develop Borderlands”.

Five councils - Carlisle City Council, Cumbria County Council, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Northumberland County Council and Scottish Borders Council - are working together with the UK and Scottish Governments on the Borderlands Growth Deal and the committee heard from a Dumfries & Galloway councillor, Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell MP and the newly appointed Scottish Government Minister for Connectivity, Paul Wheelhouse.

During the meeting, the committee was told that the aim was to have an agreement, which outlined what the growth deal will focus on, by September 2018.

Afterwards Borders MP John Lamont said he was “encouraged” by the enthusiasm he heard about the Borderlands Growth Deal and is looking forward to business cases being published later-on in the year.

John Lamont MP, said: “Borderlands represents a massive opportunity for the Borders.

“For too long, both English and Scottish agencies have seen the border as some insurmountable barrier. Borderlands gives us the opportunity to push forward some real joined up thinking across the whole region, which will be a huge boost for local businesses, local jobs and connectivity.

“While Borderlands certainly has some challenges because it brings together councils from either side of the border, I was really encouraged by what the committee heard.

“Those involved in Borderlands are really upbeat about the progress being made and businesses are similarly upbeat.”