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Governments have spent £70 million on north and north-east City Region Deals

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About £70 million of government cash has been spent so far on the City Region Deals for Aberdeen and Inverness.

Figures released to The Press and Journal showed that the UK and Scottish governments had released £14.2m for the Highland capital agreement by October 31 last year, and £54.5m for the Granite City deal.

Further spending will have been released by local councils, universities and businesses to help deliver the schemes.

The Aberdeen package, which was signed in November 2016, was worth £826m over 10 years, although it differed from others in that two-thirds of the money was coming from sources outwith government and councils, including the private sector.

The north-east deal included the creation of an Oil and Gas Technology Centre, which was launched in 2017, while work on a new “Bio Hub” centre for innovation in life sciences is poised to start.

Watchdog fears City Deal opportunities ‘missed’ in Aberdeen and Inverness

Designs have also been drawn up for a “Food Hub” to boost the food and drink industry, while construction of the Aberdeen South Harbour is due for completion this year.

Meanwhile, a £315m deal for Inverness and the Highlands was officially signed in January 2017, and included a revamp of Inverness Castle, which is due to move forward this year.

The package also featured transport schemes such as well as a flyover for the Kessock Bridge roundabout in Inverness, with a preferred option agreed last year, and the East Link road between Inshes and Smithton in the Highland capital, for which draft orders were published in September.

Affordable homes commitments have also been delivered, while a Science Skills Academy is being developed.

Both Highland Council’s leader Margaret Davidson and Aberdeen City Council’s co-leader Jenny Laing have called for talks on a second package of investment for their areas.

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