Theresa May hails £1.2bn city deal as ‘exciting step towards brighter future’

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Prime Minister Theresa May has hailed the £1.2 billion city deal for Scotland’s capital as an “exciting step towards a brighter future” for Edinburgh and the south east of Scotland.

Both the UK and Scottish governments are committing £300 million for the deal, with local authorities, universities and businesses also involved.

(L-R) Prime Minister Theresa May, City of Edinburgh Council leader Adam McVey and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon sign the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

(L-R) Prime Minister Theresa May, City of Edinburgh Council leader Adam McVey and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon sign the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Speaking at the signing ceremony at Edinburgh University, Mrs May said: “I believe we can achieve far more together than we ever could apart.”

The PM was joined at the signing ceremony by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon - with the two leaders having earlier had talks.

The Edinburgh and south-east Scotland city deal will support cutting-edge research at the capital’s three universities, improve housing and transport links and help to build a new concert hall.

Mrs May is visiting Edinburgh as the capital’s annual festival season gets under way, with Edinburgh International Festival director Fergus Linehan reportedly preparing for the impact a “catastrophic” Brexit could have on events.

READ MORE: Brexit could have a ‘disastrous’ impact on Edinburgh International Festival

However, the Prime Minister spoke about the work ministers are doing to “create more good jobs and spread economic prosperity across the country” as Britain prepares to leave European Union.

Speaking ahead of the visit, the Prime Minister said: “I am pleased to be in Edinburgh today for the city’s annual celebration of the arts and culture.

“From the Fringe, to the International Festival, festivals dedicated to science, books and storytelling, the city is truly a cultural inspiration for the rest of the UK and the world.

“Alongside the Scottish Government and local partners, I will be confirming £300 million, as part of a wider £1 billion investment by the UK Government through city deals in Scotland, to create jobs and open up new economic opportunities throughout the nation.

“These city deals build on existing strengths to open up new possibilities for the future in Scotland and the whole of the UK as part of our modern industrial strategy. “

She added: “Today I have also announced a further £13 million for investment in six science centres in the UK, including Dundee and Glasgow, to drive innovation in science and technology.

“As we leave the EU, the UK Government is working in partnership with business, academia and the devolved administrations to create more good jobs and spread economic prosperity across the country.

“By making the most of our country’s assets and the talents of all of our people, we can build a brighter future for the whole UK.”

City of Edinburgh Council leader Adam McVey said: “The agreement of this ambitious deal heralds the beginning of a transformative and inclusive programme which will help share our success right across the region.

“This investment will allow us to unlock the region’s potential to become a global powerhouse in data-driven innovation through our exceptional research and development activities, whilst the commitment to a skills programme will enhance job prospects for everyone and allow us to capitalise on the opportunities technology and innovation creates.

“We will also greatly enhance the region’s infrastructure through significant funding for transport projects and housing development to build a vibrant region for people and businesses to thrive in.”

The funds will support economic growth across the region through housing, innovation, transport, skills and culture.

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Investment from the Scottish Government will contribute towards 41,000 new homes, 21,000 jobs and improve the skills of an estimated 14,700 people.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Edinburgh and the south-east of Scotland is an area of huge importance to the Scottish economy.

“The region contains over a quarter of Scotland’s population and contributes £33 billion to the Scottish and UK economies.

“The Scottish Government’s £300 million investment in the City Region Deal will contribute towards 41,000 new homes, 21,000 jobs and improve the skills of an estimated 14,700 people across the region.

“Our investments will ensure businesses and communities from across the region benefit from the opportunities created by this the city region deal.

“Taken together, these projects will help the region continue to thrive and grow, fulfilling our ambitions for the region to be one of the fairest and most inclusive areas in the country.”