Towns across Scotland are being encouraged to apply for a new domestic twinning programme in an effort to boost local economies.

The Carnegie UK Trust plans to form partnerships between ten towns with similar characteristics or challenges in the hope that shared knowledge and resources can engender a more robust local economic strategy.

Towns with a population under 80,000 such as Inverness, Perth, Paisley, East Kilbride and Hawick have been urged to submit applications in order to benefit from the Twin Towns UK scheme.

The concept of town twinning was conceived in the aftermath of the Second World War in an attempt to promote mutual understanding and cooperation between different cultures, while also providing a welcome boost to trade and tourism.

Many partnerships already exist across Scotland, with Falkirk twinned with Cretail in the north of France, Kirkcaldy with Ingolstadt in Germany and Livingston with Grapevine from Texas, United States.

Head of development at the Carnegie UK Trust Jim Metcalfe said: "The concept of town twinning was conceived to foster greater understanding and trade between communities in different countries.

"With the devolution of power to big, overarching regions increasingly likely, smaller towns are in danger of being left behind.

"Twin Towns UK is an opportunity for local councils facing particular problems to form a partnership with a counterpart elsewhere in the country.

"Having a twinned town is something to be proud of - and we think some towns can find that partner here in the UK."

The selected towns will be supported over 18 months to build ties, receive economic planning support, and have access to funds to kick-start new commercial, voluntary and social enterprise activity, the charity said.

Source: STV News

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