Many of you will already have heard of the Aberdeen City Region Deal. However, as we reached a major milestone at the end of last year with detailed proposals being submitted to UK and Scottish Government, I thought it would be good to give you a quick rundown of where we are and how a successful City Deal will benefit not only Aberdeen, but the UK as a whole.
But firstly, what is a City Deal?
The UK Government has agreed City Deals with a number of major city regions outside London. Each agreement is different, and is negotiated on an individual basis to reflect the needs of the area. A City Deal allows local areas to unlock financial support and powers from national government, giving local bodies’ greater control over spending and decision-making to boost economic growth.
So what does this mean for Aberdeen and the wider region?
Colleagues here in the Council, along with a team from Aberdeenshire Council, have been working with the two governments, other agencies and the private sector to secure a deal which could result in significant capital investment in the North East.
The City Region Deal is the starting point of a long-term improvement programme which will have far-reaching impacts. It will allow us to improve transport links, infrastructure and housing and boost investment in innovation and research and development.
The success of oil and gas has allowed us to achieve great things over several decades. The City Region Deal will let us build upon the existing strengths of this area, which already contributes substantially to UK PLC, and also allow us to continue to diversify our economy into other areas including Food, Drink & Agriculture; Life Sciences and Tourism.
If we are successful in securing the City Region Deal, it is important to note that there is not a large pot of money that would instantly be made available. The process requires local and national government to work together, along with the private sector, academia and the wider public to develop the proposals and implement them.
It is a process of negotiation. Elements of long-term projects will be subject to change to enable them to adapt to a changing financial and political environment.
If you would like to keep updated about the City Region Deal please sign up to the weekly newsletter via www.abzdeal.com or join the discussion on twitter using #ABZdeal