Moray’s economy is set to be transformed as the region celebrates securing £65 million for its Growth Deal.
This first round of funding was announced today by the UK’s Deputy Prime Minister David Lidington and Scottish Government Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Richard Lochhead, during a visit to Moray College.
The multi-million pound investment – a contribution of £32.5 million each from the UK and Scottish Governments – is set to be bolstered with further funding from regional and private sector partners in a deal that has been heralded as a ‘game-changer’ for Moray.
It will significantly contribute to developing a thriving economy, promoting skills development, energy, culture and tourism, as well as improving connectivity and productivity across the region.
Moray’s Growth Deal bid was launched in 2017, this followed extensive consultation with those living in the region, capturing their aspirations for the future of Moray and aiming to boost economic growth on a long-term, sustainable basis.
Led by Moray Council, the bid was supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Moray College UHI, partners from public and third sectors, and private businesses within the area. Moray’s MP Douglas Ross and MSP Richard Lochead have also worked tirelessly at Westminster and Holyrood to build support for the deal.
Projects to be pursued under the Growth Deal will be confirmed later this year, as part of the heads of terms agreement. Under discussion are the creation of additional hubs for Moray College that will focus on business enterprise, innovation and advanced technologies, to support emerging sectors in aerospace and aviation, as well as more traditional industries.
Also in the pipeline is the development of a Cultural Quarter in Elgin, a dynamic and vibrant area for both tourists and residents showcasing the abundance of Moray’s quality offering in food, drink and textiles, as well as signposting visitors to attractions and activities across the area.
Leader of Moray Council, Councillor Graham Leadbitter, said today’s announcement demonstrates national confidence in Moray’s economic future, and paves the way for attracting further investment.
“This is the moment we’ve been waiting for since the idea of a Growth Deal for Moray was first floated.
“Today’s commitment by the UK and Scottish Governments to Moray’s future follows a huge show of support by representatives from across our business and civic quarters, as well as from major industry players, the military, tourism and education sectors. Moray is a wonderfully attractive place to live, work, study and visit and the whole purpose of the Growth Deal is to maximise the desirability of our region.
“This announcement is the most critical milestone to date and what we, as a Moray partnership, have been working so hard to achieve. In the coming months we’ll be progressing the detailed business cases to reach a final ‘heads of terms’, when the total value of the deal, including all the public and private sector contributions are known.”
Moray Council’s Director of Economic Development and Infrastructure, Rhona Gunn, said today is a hugely proud day for all of those who have worked tirelessly in their support of Moray’s Growth Deal.
“This is a game-changer for the region, heralding a new decade of economic progression. This substantial investment in infrastructure will encourage our already considerable industries to grow while attracting new businesses and talent into the region.
“The aim is to create a wealth of employment opportunities for our young people by investing strategically in our already established industries, while aiding expansion into new fields through increased innovation in the area.”
Highlands and Islands Enterprise Area Manager for Moray, Donna Chisholm, said today’s funding announcement will be welcomed by businesses and residents who’ve contributed their ideas to the Deal.
“The public consultation undertaken as part of this deal has been hugely influential in developing the proposed projects, including a greater emphasis on job creation, education, businesses, leisure and recreation facilities.”
The projects supported by the Moray Growth Deal will be revealed over the coming months. For more information and to keep up to date with the Growth Deal, click here.