Delivering transformational investment for Scotland’s city regions

An aerial photograph of the Dundee waterfront


Key points:

  • City Region and other regional Growth Deals act as enablers to unlock economic assets
  • We have 4 deals already in delivery and a further 4 agreed in principle.
  • We have committed over £1.8 bn to all deal and associated investments to date and are working to achieve 100% coverage of Scotland with growth deals

City deals worth up to £1.125 billion over the next 10 to 20 years have been agreed for the Glasgow City Region, Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, Inverness City and Highland Region, Edinburgh and South East Scotland. Heads of Terms have been reached for Stirling and Clackmannanshire, the Tay Cities, Ayrshire and Borderlands.

Each deal is tailored to the social and economic situation of its region and links into the expertise and facilities provided by local universities, colleges and research institutes, with projects such as the Oil and Gas Technology Centre in Aberdeen, the distributed learning of STEM subjects across Highland, and a focus on capitalising on data driven innovation in Edinburgh.

Deals galvanise key partners to come together to drive regional economies in ways that go well beyond the investments that they deliver, leveraging local and regional intelligence about how best to secure inclusive economic growth. They recognise the local importance of our key economic sectors and the broader benefits that sectors such as tourism, culture and heritage deliver.

They act as a catalyst to support and enable a set of strong regional economic partnerships across Scotland that have a clear and active role for the private sector to help create and deliver a clear economic plan for the region.

That is why we are committed to delivering 100% coverage of deals across Scotland. Funding has been announced for the Moray Growth Deal and Growth Deal for Argyll. Investment in deals for Falkirk, the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland are under discussion.

City Region and Growth Deals build on our strong foundations of finding new ways to unlock economic investment, including our Tax Increment Financing and Growth Accelerator approaches where we have already delivered two Growth Accelerator schemes: with the City of Edinburgh Council for the St James Quarter, unlocking around £1 billion of new development in the city centre; and with Dundee City Council involving £60 million of Scottish Government investment to support the wider £1 billion Waterfront Development that includes the iconic V&A Museum.

In order to support community wealth building we will invest £3m in a community wealth building programme which is being developed as part of the Ayrshire Growth Deal. This aims to help maximise the local benefit within the area from key local employers, procurement spend, and assets.

Building Scotland’s biggest port

Established in 1136, Aberdeen Harbour is officially recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as one of Britain’s oldest existing businesses. Soon, it will be able to claim the title of Scotland’s biggest port.

Long recognised as a vital cog in Scotland’s economy – it has supported the growth of the fishing and oil and gas industries among numerous others – the harbour is undergoing a major modernisation programme that will open the door to new markets.

The Scottish Government has committed up to £12.5 million to the overall project cost of £350 million, which will be used contribute to the infrastructure necessary to connect the harbour extension to the broader network. Once complete, the expansion of the harbour at Nigg Bay will have the largest amount of berthage in the UK, and a water depth of up to 15 metre. This is expected to help Scotland tap into the opportunities presented by the renewables and cruise tourism industries.

Construction of Aberdeen South Harbour is now well underway, with the project more than half-way through the building process. Aberdeen Harbour Board’s Chief Executive, Michelle Handforth, highlighted the significance of this investment via the City Deal in the 2018/19 Annual Report, stating that “In terms of investment, Aberdeen Harbour’s South Harbour expansion is the largest port infrastructure project underway in the UK, and the largest single investment project in the history of UK Trust Ports”.

Key resources:

Scottish Government: Cities and regions

Edinburgh & South East Scotland City Region

Glasgow City Region

Aberdeen City Region

Highland Region

Tay Cities Region