ALMOST £1 billion of investment for housing in and around the Capital is set to be announced as part of the long-awaited City Deal.
After months of delay, the deal – which covers Edinburgh, the other three Lothian councils, Fife and the Borders – is now expected to be signed off next week, paving the way for a major cash injection targeted at innovation, infrastructure, culture and tourism and housing.
Edinburgh’s political leaders are due to meet on Thursday to give their approval to the final package and the other authorities are also expected to endorse it over the next ten days.
It is understood the deal is set to include up to £400m in capital investment for housing, together with £500m revenue funding.
There will also be over £200m capital and £300m revenue in innovation funding for the area’s universities; £150m for infrastructure; £45m for skills; and £65m capital and £20m revenue for culture and tourism.
The deal had been due to be unveiled at the end of March, but the announcement was delayed because of the local elections and then held up again due to the general election.
The city council is now in recess and standing orders do not allow full council meetings to be called during recess.
But the leaders of each of the five party groups on the council will meet on Thursday to approve the package, which has had cross-party support.
A council source said: “It appears the UK and Scottish governments are on the verge of finally agreeing it and they need us to say we are happy to accept.”
The deal is understood to involve £350m from the Scottish Government, a similar amount from the UK government, with smaller contributions from the councils and universities, and is expected to bring in £3.2bn from the private sector.
Edinburgh and the Lothians have a massive housing shortage, with official estimates saying the Capital alone needs to build more than 25,000 extra houses by 2026.
Ewan Aitken, chief executive of homelessness charity Edinburgh Cyrenians, said the city deal could make a huge difference. He said: “It’s very exciting so long as, once we have the money in place, we make wise decisions. We desperately need houses at a cost that relate to people’s ability to pay – not so much how much the rent is compared to other people’s rents, but how much it is in proportion to their income.
“Incomes are falling so rents need to be low. We need housing people can afford to pay for in places they want to live.”