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Disappointment at “extraordinarily small” north-east city deal investment

Ian Murray said getting a deal had been his top priority
Ian Murray said getting a deal had been his top priority

The news the Aberdeen City Region Deal amounts to just a quarter of the Glasgow agreement was met with disappointment across the north-east last night.

North-east Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald said he thought £250million an “extraordinarily small” figure.

He added: “£1billion is ok for Glasgow, but far too much to contemplate for Aberdeen. People will be shocked that’s all the government thinks Aberdeen is worth.”

Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald
Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald

Former Scottish secretary Alistair Carmichael said the total would come as a “bitter disappointment”.

The northern isles MP added: “The north-east of Scotland has supported both the Conservatives and the SNP over the years – people will feel let down by this arrangement.”

Aberdeen South MP Callum McCaig said he did not think anyone would sniff at £250million.

But he added: “I think everyone would have wanted to see a lot more, particularly given the pressures we are seeing in the area right now.”

Shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray said getting a deal had been his top priority.

He added: “Whilst the deal is recognition of the contribution of the north-east to the Scottish economy, it’s slightly disappointing that key devolved issues like housing and transport are omitted and it’s only a fraction of what was proposed.”

A UK Government source told the Press and Journal the city deal was not designed to “help pay for things the block grant is already paying for”.

Aberdeen City Council leader Jenny Laing said: “I welcome the prime minister, his ministers and Scottish Government ministers to Aberdeen as they announce a City Region Deal, as well as the additional measures they will bring in support of this nationally significant industry and the city in which it is based.

Council leader Jenny Laing welcomed the deal
Council leader Jenny Laing welcomed the deal

“However, the package announced today is only the first stage in transforming the north-east of Scotland and I look forward to continuing our discussions with all layers of government.”

Co-leader of Aberdeenshire Council Martin Kitts-Hayes welcomed the news of the City Region Deal investment.

He said: “It is a testament to the collective enthusiasm and support we have received from the public and private sectors and academia.

“We believe that this marks the start of a huge opportunity for the Aberdeen City Region and we welcome the significant investment that will open the doors to further investment in key areas such as infrastructure and housing, that is so fundamental to the region.”

The extra £254million announced by the Scottish Government includes an initial £200million to help improve journey times and increase capacity on key rail links between Aberdeen and the central belt.

In addition, there will be £24million for the trunk roads programme, £10million for extending digital infrastructure in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, above and beyond the money committed in the City Region Deal.

The final £20million will be spent on infrastructure to unlock housing sites of strategic importance for local authorities.

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