Local and national politicians and industry leaders have signed an ambitious City Region Deal for the North East, which has been described as a “transformative” moment for Aberdeenshire’s economy.
Aberdeenshire Council co-leader Cllr Richard Thomson put pen to paper on the deal – funded by the Scottish and UK Governments, Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City Councils and the private sector – on Monday at the headquarters of Oil and Gas UK in Aberdeen, together with Keith Brown MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities for Scotland; Lord Dunlop, Under-Secretary of State for Scotland; Aberdeen City Council Leader Cllr Jenny Laing; and Sir Ian Wood to sign the landmark deal.
The deal, valued at £826 million over a ten-year period, commits both UK and Scottish Governments to jointly investing up to £250 million, whilst Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council and local partners are committed to investing up to £44 million over the next ten years. The Deal paves the way for investment in innovation, internationalisation, digital connectivity, and infrastructure across the region
The City Region Deal will support an Oil & Gas Technology Centre (OGTC), a digital infrastructure fund and the planned expansion of Aberdeen Harbour. A Bio-Therapeutic Hub for Innovation, Agri-Food and Nutrition Hub for Innovation and a number of Strategic Transport Appraisals will also benefit from the funding.
It has the potential to create an average of 330 new jobs per year in the region, aggregating to some 3,300 new net jobs over the 10 year lifetime of the deal. It could also generate additional annual tax revenues to the Government of £113 million from income tax, national insurance, VAT and oil tax revenues.
Speaking afterwards, Councillor Thomson said: “This is a transformative agreement for the future of the North East and the economic opportunities it offers its people. Although the headline-grabbers will be the investments in the Oil and Gas Technology Centre, the research hubs and the harbour, there are very real benefits in there to unlock future investment in better broadband and transport infrastructure.
“For me, transport is the issue which unlocks each and every element of the deal. Providing appropriate infrastructure is fundamental to our wider success. Funding the transport appraisals for the region, including the future of the Aberdeen to Fraserburgh/Peterhead corridor is of real benefit, as it has the potential to unlock the future investment in improved roads as well as to reintroduce rail north of Aberdeen.
“It was a pleasure to witness this moment and I look forward to moving to the next phase.”