A deal that aims to rejuvenate and revitalise Moray with a huge cash boost is very close to being announced, the region’s MP has claimed.
Talks around a Moray Growth Deal have been ongoing between UK and Scottish governments for a number of years.
It would lead to a £200 million funding boost to the region that would help to grow the infrastructure and increase tourism numbers.
Now, Douglas Ross believes a final decision on the deal could be announced today, as a senior member of the UK Government cabinet visits the north-east.
Deputy Prime Minister David Lidington is expected to arrive in the region for more discussions.
Mr Ross said: “There has been a huge amount of work done by partners in Moray and both the UK and Scottish Governments to get us to this stage where I believe we are close to confirming the Moray Growth Deal.
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“This is an ambitious and transformational plan for our area and as the minister said in response to my question these growth deals have made a huge impact in other parts of Scotland where they’ve been delivered.
“I believe this visit to Moray by David Lidington, who deputises for the prime minister, is the ideal opportunity to confirm the progress both our governments have made on this deal and to confirm it will be going ahead and the funding Moray will receive to deliver this plan.”
Several proposals have been put forward as to how any pledged cash might be spent in Moray.
Among them are plans to turn Grant Lodge in Elgin’s Cooper Park into a whisky museum, and a new technology centre to help small businesses in the north-east.
Moray MSP Richard Lochhead welcomed the news.
He said: “The Moray Growth Deal is funded by both the Scottish and UK Government and I know Scottish ministers have been pressing UK ministers to confirm their side of the bargain as soon as possible and an announcement this week would be most welcome.
“With Brexit and the potential of a No Deal Brexit lurking around the corner the deal will provide a valuable economic boost for Moray in the coming years and help create new high value jobs.”