Moray’s bid for a £200 million growth deal to fund large-scale projects across the region has been described as a potential “game changer” for communities.
The team behind the bid took their case to the Scottish Parliament this week in order to showcase the potential benefits to MSPs.
The proposals rely on a combination of Holyrood and UK Government support in order to fund large investments that would be unaffordable otherwise.
Included in the blueprint are a new gas pipeline to allow distilleries to expand, two new campuses for Moray College UHI in Elgin, a “cultural quarter” in the town that would include a refurbished Grant Lodge and a new factory to safeguard manufacturing jobs in the area.
The final make-up of the projects will be confirmed following negotiations with the Scottish and UK governments.
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But Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson believes the proposals have the potential to improve the region’s fortunes.
He said: “The growth deal will be a game-changer in the region now and in the future.
“It was great to welcome many people to the Scottish Parliament for the event and there was good discussion and enthusiasm for both the region and the individual projects.
“The deal can bring so much to Moray and I look forward to seeing it come to fruition.”
Senior directors from Moray Council were at the event as well as representatives from Moray Speyside Tourism and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
The team talked to members of the SNP, Conservative and Labour parties about the projects in detail to get feedback about the offering.
The showcase came just a month after Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond, confirmed in his budget speech that negotiations would soon begin about the deal.
Moray Council leader Graham Leadbitter described the event as “productive”.
He said: “It was an opportunity to showcase Moray and our plans for the future.
“A growth deal will form a significant part of delivering those ambitions.
“The hard work will continue over the next few months to make the best case and deliver a good deal for Moray that will enable sustainable and exciting economic growth in our region.”