Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive, Edinburgh International Airport pledges support for City Region Deal.

At the heart of the region Edinburgh is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city, boasting hundreds of years of fascinating history and one of the world’s most recognisable skylines, while the region boasts picturesque town centre’s, some of the world’s finest golf courses, rolling hills and stunning coastlines with golden beaches. These assets help me to make the case when persuading airlines to come here, and it’s been working.

Attracting people from all over the world to Edinburgh and Scotland is one of the airports key aims. Over 15.5 million tourists visited Scotland last year – spending over £5 billion and we know from our passengers that many journeys in Scotland begin in Edinburgh. This reinforces just how vital tourism is to Scotland’s economy today and to Scotland’s future economic growth. We have attracted new routes to places like Doha, Chicago and Abu Dhabi and our long-haul passenger traffic has increased by almost 90%.

The City of Edinburgh acts as a gateway for international and domestic tourists to the wider region and to Scotland as a whole. Visitors to Edinburgh, 38% of which are from overseas, are vital to business and domestic tourism injecting over £1 billion each year into the region's economy.  However, we cannot be complacent - when attracting new air routes and passengers we face significant competition from around the globe. It is essential that we have a successful city region economy to enable us to compete with key cities such as London, Copenhagen, and Munich.

Whilst the airport continues to enhance connectivity to the rest of the world, it is essential that connectivity is improved across the city region. Targeted investment would lead to a marked reduction in journey times, driving up productivity, and opening up job opportunities across the region.

 The City Region Deal can only be achieved through collaborative working with key partners not only in UK, Scottish and local Government, but across the business and education sectors as well as tourism and trade agencies.

Over the last decade, we have proven ourselves to be one of the most popular places in the world for investment in education, life sciences, tourism and financial services. But we must make sure this success continues. Edinburgh Airport recognises the need for growth. A City Region Deal could enable Edinburgh and the South East of Scotland to become one of the most connected, creative and entrepreneurial regions in Europe. The case is compelling.

I am pleased to see partners and businesses from across the region sharing a vision, and working together to lobby Government for the powers we need to ensure that the region can continue to deliver sustainable economic growth and jobs. I am delighted to pledge to support this initiative and look forward to working with partners as we develop specific projects further.

Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive - Edinburgh International Airport

Hugh Rutherford, Chair of Edinburgh Business Forum.

With the exception of London, the Edinburgh city region is the most prosperous in the UK, and has tremendous strengths in key sectors such as finance, life sciences, tourism and an emerging high-tech sector. Our region has been remarkably resilient in recent austere times. We have now had 14 consecutive years of steady growth, and that would suggest that we are doing a lot of things right.  

So if we are so successful, why do we need a city region deal from Government? There are many threats to our sustained growth that are holding back our potential: not least productivity and inequality. Our productivity consistently lags behind cities with similar international regional economies - such as Copenhagen, Munich and Dublin – and the global competition is increasing. Meanwhile within the region, inequality is the biggest issue we face. One in five households lives in poverty, and half of the people living in poverty are already in work.

A city region deal would create conditions for more productive, high value jobs that everyone can access. There is huge potential through simply working more effectively together as a region, and exploiting regional synergies through cross-regional transport, innovation and skills packages. Opening up these opportunities would provide citizens with the skills they need to access new job and training opportunities to lift their earning capacity, while at the same time making the region more attractive for investment and the creation of more jobs.

As Scotland’s capital city region, we must demonstrate how, whilst we are thriving we also have a key role to play in ensuring continued sustained economic growth. We can’t take our success for granted, and our shared vision is clear: we must invest in success. Edinburgh needs its city region and its city region needs Edinburgh – the future of the South east of Scotland and Scotland as a whole depends on a city region wide deal.

So I urge all regional businesses to please join the growing list who have pledged support for the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region deal. 

Hugh Rutherford, Chair of Edinburgh Business Forum and Director of Montagu-Evans