Two UK Government ministers have opened up discussions about a Borderlands Growth Deal to boost the economy of the south of Scotland and north of England.
Last week both David Mundell, Secretary of State for Scotland and Jake Berry, Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth Minister met with cross-border local authority partners from Scottish Borders Council, Northumberland County Council, Carlisle City Council, Cumbria County Council and Dumfries & Galloway Council for the first Borderlands meeting of 2018.
Transport and digital connectivity are at the heart of the partners’ proposals, and a Borderlands spokesperson said after the meeting: “Our shared ambition is to play a full part in the regional and wider UK economy and unlock the potential of the south of Scotland and north of England.
“We welcomed the opportunity to discuss the Borderlands Growth Deal direct with ministers. Discussions were positive and although they remain at a relatively early stage we look forward to more collaboration and discussion with both the UK and Scottish governments.”
Scottish Secretary David Mundell added: “We are continuing to make good progress towards a Borderlands Growth Deal, which has the potential to transform the economy of the whole region, creating jobs and increasing prosperity. We will continue to work closely with the Borderlands partners to work up the detail of their proposals.”
Mid Berwickshire councillor Mark Rowley, executive member for business and economic development, represented Scottish Borders Council at the meeting. He said: “The opportunities and ambitions are extensive and the challenges huge but the commitment of local authorities and both UK and Scottish governments to Borderlands is clear and very welcome.
“Clearly we have a lot of work to do but alongside the South of Scotland Economic Partnership, our area has the fantastic prospect of transforming our economy through enterprise, skills and innovation.
“Discussions will continue with the UK and Scottish governments. We expect to see some significant progress made during 2018.”