Cllr Andrew Burns: Chancellor’s commitment to City Region Deal extremely welcome

Cllr Andrew Burns welcomes the Chancellor’s restatement of the UK Government's commitment of the City Region Deal in Saturday’s Edinburgh Evening News. 

During this week’s Budget Autumn Statement the Chancellor restated the UK Government’s commitment to Edinburgh and our neighbouring local authorities to agree a City Region Deal.

This announcement was extremely welcome as positive conversations are well underway between Edinburgh and the South East Scotland region, the Scottish Government and the UK Government to cement what we hope will be one of the largest and boldest City Deal packages ever to be agreed in the UK.

Worth potentially over £1.5 billion over 20 years, its focus on innovation and inclusion will leverage in substantial private sector investment and ensure that nobody and no community is left behind.

As Scotland’s capital city, we have been working closely with our neighbouring authorities: East Lothian, Fife, Midlothian, Scottish Borders and West Lothian to negotiate greater fiscal powers and funding towards strategic and more affordable housing, transport, infrastructure and skills development, to help the region to become the most connected, creative, inclusive and innovative place in Europe.  The region’s colleges and universities are also at the heart of the deal providing the opportunity for investment in world leading innovation hubs.

We are proud to be one of the UK’s success stories, however our success is not uniform across the region with wide variations within and between the local authority areas. City Deal will help us to address this and help us to consolidate our place as a premier international innovation region. Innovation is the driving force of our success and we want to ensure that more of our residents can share in this success.

So, this week’s commitment from Westminster is a very positive step forward for our proposals to tackle inequality and accelerate substantial economic growth through investment in innovation, skills and infrastructure. We believe that our City Deal will allow us to accelerate and generate significant additional growth for Scotland and the UK.

Cllr Burns is the Leader of the City of Edinburgh Council

Councillor Andrew Burns Reacts to the Budget Announcement

Yesterday’s Spring Budget signalled an important commitment to Edinburgh and to our neighbouring local authorities.

By announcing a City Deal for the region, the Chancellor cemented two years’ worth of positive conversations between Edinburgh and the South East Scotland region, the Scottish Government and the UK Government.

As Scotland’s capital city, we have been working closely with our neighbouring authorities: East Lothian, Fife, Midlothian, Scottish Borders and West Lothian; on a deal which will drive productivity and growth while reducing inequalities and deprivation.

We initially submitted our proposals in September 2015 and remain as determined as ever to negotiate greater fiscal powers and funding towards strategic housing, transport and infrastructure, to help the region to become the most connected, creative, inclusive and innovative place in Europe.

Each local authority has different strengths and opportunities. yet we are also a divided region, with significant numbers missing out on prosperity.

We are performing well economically, but we are not achieving our full growth potential. In some industries we have a critical skills shortage and infrastructure pushed to the limits of population growth.

And it is frankly not acceptable that almost a quarter of our region’s residents live in fuel poverty, while 21% of our children live in poverty.  

But through more innovation, the development of skills and infrastructure projects and the acquisition of increased powers, we can further enhance the region’s reputation as a great place to live, work, do business and invest in, and help accelerate economic growth not just for the region, but for the whole of Scotland and the wider UK. 

So, this week’s commitment from Westminster is a very positive step forward for our proposals to tackle inequality and accelerate substantial economic growth through investment in innovation, skills and infrastructure.