Aberdeen City Region Deal - weekly progress update 30th November

The team behind the Aberdeen City Region Deal were given a boost last week when Chancellor George Osborne referenced the negotiations with Aberdeen in his Spending Review and Autumn Statement address to parliament on November 25th.

He noted that the UK Government was now implementing the City Deal with Glasgow, and said that the negotiating process was continuing with Aberdeen.

Mr Osborne’s comments were viewed as a positive reflection of the progress that has been made over recent months, as Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire councils have worked with both the UK and Scottish governments on detailed proposals to help safeguard the future of the regional economy.

The Chancellor had signalled the start of the negotiation process in his Budget speech in March, when he said that the City Deal status accorded to the Glasgow and Clyde Valley area could also be afforded to the Aberdeen City Region.

Since then, both councils have jointly submitted a Statement of Intent and are now close to submitting the finalised proposals for the City Region Deal for the north-east.

The submission, backed by a regional economic strategy and a report on detailed financial modelling from Ernst and Young, will outline an action plan around key areas including investment in infrastructure, innovation, ICT and internationalisation which can help to secure a successful future for the region’s economy.

In a joint statement issued following the Chancellor’s speech on Wednesday, Aberdeen City Council Leader, Councillor Jenny Laing, and Aberdeenshire Council Co-Leader, Councillor Martin Kitts-Hayes said: “We welcome the Chancellor’s reference in his Autumn Statement in relation to the ongoing negotiations on an Aberdeen City Region Deal. This reflects the progress that has been made in recent months.

“We believe the deal is an essential mechanism to realise our economic objectives for Aberdeen and the wider region by anchoring the energy sector in the North-East of Scotland and working to diversify the regional economy.

“Depending on the outcome of these negotiations with both the UK and Scottish governments, the City Region Deal could have a transformative effect in terms of infrastructure, innovation and digital connectivity.

“The two councils are working with public and private sector partners to finalise the detailed submission to the UK and Scottish governments by the end of the year.”

The City Region Deal was also the subject of an economic summit hosted by the Robert Gordon University (RGU) on November 25. Speakers included both council leaders, Sir Ian Wood on behalf of the new economic leadership board and Maggie McGinlay from Scottish Enterprise.

The event, ‘Aberdeen, Scotland – the Next Chapter’, was part of RGU’s commitment to the city region and aimed to support the City Region Deal by engaging local, national and international leaders to come together to help shape a new economic direction for the Aberdeen city region.