Representatives for the Moray growth deal headed to London this week for vital talks about the possibility of the multi-million-pound deal soon becoming a reality.
Major figures from the region’s business, military and civic arenas were drumming up support for the best possible growth deal from Westminster’s politicians and senior advisers, in advance of an anticipated announcement this summer.
Officials met with treasury officials at 11 Downing Street and at the Ministry of Defence headquarters with Secretary of State for Defence, Gavin Williamson.
Heading up the campaign is council leader Graham Leadbitter who pointed to the show of strength from such high-profile representatives of Moray’s business and civic quarters will demonstrate the wide support a deal has.
He said: “We have already secured the backing of a number of household names, such as Walkers Shortbread’s, Jim Walker and Grant Gordon, of William Grant & Sons.”
“There is no doubt that this deal will be transformational for Moray, and the presence of such prominent local representatives from so many arenas of Moray life demonstrates the level of support we have for it.”
Moray is bidding for a £200m deal and proposals for it rely on a combination of Holyrood and UK Government support in order to fund large investments that would be unaffordable otherwise.
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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.
Rhona Gunn, corporate director for economic development, planning and infrastructure at Moray Council, said: “Moray’s business potential and environment are first class, and the Growth Deal will enable us to invest in growing our already considerable industries.
“All industry requires an excellent infrastructure to grow, and this deal will help provide that. The spin-off is greater employment opportunities – especially for our young people, more private sector investment and it will herald a new decade of growth in Moray.
“We expect to complete the first stage of the deal process – called the Heads of Terms – which we hope to finalise soon after the scale of the deal is announced. We can then begin detailed planning of the 10 year timeline for the projects within the programme.”