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Long-awaited £100million Moray Growth Deal to be signed

The planned 'cultural quarter' for Elgin, part of the Moray Growth Deal.
The planned 'cultural quarter' for Elgin, part of the Moray Growth Deal.

A £100million deal which will boost Moray and bring jobs, home and business to the region will be officially signed today.

The Moray Growth Deal is expected to bring around 3,500 jobs to the area over the next decade, directly or indirectly, while 300 affordable new homes will be constructed and the growth of 450 new businesses will be supported.

The Scottish and UK Governments will pledge up to £32.5 million investment, while regional partners across the public and third sector will contribute up to £35.8 million.

Talks over a potential deal for Moray have taken place for years, with then-Chancellor Philip Hammond announcing the start of formal negotiations in October 2018.

Today’s official signing will mark the beginning of a 10-year period during which projects such as a Moray Aerospace, Advanced Technology and Innovation Campus (MAATIC), a Cultural Quarter for Elgin, and a new low-carbon bus service with an Uber-style booking system will receive investment.

Leader hails partnerships

Graham Leadbitter, the leader of Moray Council, said today’s event marks the “culmination of a huge amount of work” by the local authority, its partners, and the two governments.

He said: “The leadership of the individual projects by the council, Moray College UHI, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and Scotland’s National Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre has required significant investment of time, energy and early finance to develop them to this stage.

“This has been underpinned by cross-party and cross-governmental support providing the necessary confidence to drive the overall deal forwards.

“Moving forwards the digital health project is already under way, land acquisition is being pursued in other projects, new electric buses are on order for the bus revolution project and designs are moving to an advanced stage.

“One of the major boosts of this work has been the partnership working between different organisations, which has grown substantially, and the benefits of these close working and strengthened relationships will extend far beyond the Growth Deal.”

Moray Council leader Graham Leadbitter in Cooper Park, Elgin. Pictures by Jason Hedges

‘Creating opportunities’

Scotland Office Minister Iain Stewart said: “Projects including a world-class aerospace campus, manufacturing innovation centre and digital health centre will help turn Moray into a hub for engineering, research and development, fueling the regional economy and creating high quality jobs.

“The development of a Cultural Quarter in Elgin will also support economic growth while proudly showcasing the area’s unique heritage and culture.”

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said: “At a time of such unprecedented challenge and uncertainty it is important that we continue to build strategically for the longer term to drive innovation in key sectors, create jobs and equip local people with the skills they need to compete for opportunities.

“The growth deal package is supporting a range of projects designed by local partners that will do exactly that.”

She added: “The deal is about investing in local people, local projects, and local priorities, with our partners to create opportunities for all and I am delighted we have reached this milestone today.”

Moray MP Douglas Ross has welcomed the signing of the Moray Growth Deal.

Commenting, Mr Ross said: “I have been heavily involved with the growth deal throughout my time as the local MP, and I’m delighted that it has finally been signed.  It is down to the hard work of the various different groups involved that we were able to get this agreement secured before the end of the year and I look forward to seeing the projects really progress now.

“This is fantastic news for Moray. The growth deal represents a huge investment in our area and in its people, and it is great to see both the Scottish and UK Governments working together to make the deal possible.

“We have already seen from the range of projects made possible by this investment how the Moray Growth Deal will bring a positive economic boost to our area with jobs and the potential for further investment.

“This vital investment will make a great difference as we come back from the effects of the pandemic and I’m grateful to everyone who has made this latest stage, and significant, stage in the Moray Growth Deal possible.”

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