Over £90 million is to be invested in Stirling and Clackmannanshire through an ambitious UK City Region Deal which aims to use infrastructure to drive economic growth across the region.

Working in partnership with both Stirling Council and Clackmannanshire Council, the deal will see the Scottish Government and UK government each invest £45.1m with regional partners, including the private sector.

Set to unlock economic opportunities across the whole of the region, deliver new and up-skilled jobs across a range of sectors, it is hoped the deal will enable the city region to thrive in new and emerging sectors with a highly-skilled, flexible workforce.

Among the plans for the investment are:

  • The creation of a new International  Environment Centre will draw together academic expertise from across Scotland, the UK and the world.  It will connect environmental research with business opportunities and training and will take full advantage of the natural environment and heritage of the region.
  • New and improved Active Travel routes through the City Region Deal. Transport Scotland will work with the partners to identify investments to improve regional connectivity between Stirling City and Alloa, and outlying settlements, as well as improvements to the active travel network around Northside.
  • A new Aquaculture Innovation Hub, which will be unique in the UK, will operate four aquatic research facilities which between them will provide the full range of marine environmental conditions.  The hub will create research and development opportunities to grow the export of Scottish aquaculture skills and products.
  • The development of a Digital District programme of investments in digital skills, training and business development, alongside the creation of Digital Hubs in Callander and Alloa.
  • The Scottish Tartan Centre, a new attraction for visitors to Stirling and Scotland, will celebrate the history of this iconic fabric that is associated with Scotland the world over, and help to grow the region’s tourism industry.
  • Releasing MOD land to the council to align with their housing and business plans.
  • DWP will offer support to people from disadvantaged groups in Clackmannanshire to help them access work.

Cabinet secretary for the Economy Keith Brown said: “Scotland’s cities and regional communities are the engines of our economy. Today’s Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal demonstrates our clear and strong commitment to supporting and growing the regional economy.

“That is why the Scottish Government has agreed to invest £45.1m as part of a £90.2m City Region Deal that will deliver significant long-term benefits for Stirling and Clackmannanshire and Scotland as a whole.

“This deal has the power to build on the area’s socio-economic strengths and expertise, developing them to transfer the economy, bringing sustained economic growth and positive social impact to all of its communities.

“Building on the region’s expertise, the Scottish Government will invest £17m to support the development of a new International Environment Centre that will provide an integrated approach to cutting-edge research, innovation and skills development to tackles global environmental challenges. We will invest investment up to £15m to develop and augment key economic assets in culture, heritage and tourism and develop the regions digital capabilities by funding a £2m Digital District. We will also tackle the digital exclusion by investing up to a further £2m to develop digital hubs in Callander and Alloa.

“The successful delivery of the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Regions Deal will bring significant positive benefits to both the local and national economies and I am delighted that we have been able to secure this.”

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: “The UK government is investing £45m in the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal. The ambitious and innovative deal will drive economic growth across the region, creating jobs and boosting prosperity for generations to come. It is now for Stirling and Clackmannanshire to get on with the hard work needed to turn these proposals into a reality.

“This is just one part of a programme of UK City Region Deals across Scotland. Today’s announcement brings the UK government’s investment in UK City Region Deals in Scotland to more than £1 billion. All of Scotland’s seven cities either have, or are in negotiation for, a deal. And talks are also underway on the Borderlands and Ayrshire growth deals.

“The UK government is working hard to boost economic growth right across the UK. We want to work with the Scottish Government where we can to ensure the sustainability and prosperity of Scotland’s economy.”

Stirling Council leader, Scott Farmer, said: “This deal will help Stirling Council write the first page of a fresh new chapter in this area’s ancient, famous and storied history.

“Today we focus on our future by using this investment to not just build on what we have and know, but to expand, grow and truly flourish in the modern world.

“Our aim is to bring change and innovation to the people, businesses and communities of the entire region and the funding brought forward with the City Region Deal puts the power in our hands to achieve that.”

Clackmannanshire Council leader Ellen Forson added: “I am delighted that the Scottish and UK Governments have made this formal commitment to invest in the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal through the announcement of ‘Heads of Terms’ today.

“I believe that the joint City Deal bid provides a unique opportunity to promote shared and sustainable growth in our region over the next 10 years and beyond, building on Clackmannanshire’s strengths whilst helping to change the lives of our disadvantaged and excluded residents. We look forward to continuing to work closely with all our partners in the months and years ahead to develop these exciting initiatives.”

Source: Scottish Housing News

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