Delay to £1bn Edinburgh City Deal hurts investment

Delays to the £1 billion Edinburgh and South East City Region Deal could cost the Scottish economy crucial investment, Economy Secretary Keith Brown has warned.

Brown said he has received no response to recent letters to the UK Government requesting clarity around the deal.

A recent meeting with his UK Government counterpart Greg Clark was also cancelled at short notice.

Without action, negotiations could run on into the second half of the year or beyond — while city deals in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness are already in place, guaranteeing a boost for those local economies.

City Region Deals are agreements between the Scottish Government, the UK Government and local government designed to bring about long-term strategic approaches to improving regional economies.

Brown said: “The UK Government must stop dragging its feet over this very important issue.

“The Scottish Government is fully committed to agreeing an ambitious and transformative Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, in the same way we have done for Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness.

“I have written to the Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell twice in the past month with no reply. And last week Mr Clark cancelled a meeting where I intended to press him on the Edinburgh and South East deal.

“That is unacceptable.

“The UK Government cannot sideline the people of Edinburgh and the South East while it attempts to get its own house in order.

“Given the complete lack of engagement to date, we need urgent reassurances from the UK Government that they remain as committed to agreeing a jointly funded deal that secures the future prosperity and growth of Scotland’s capital city and region as we are, and are ready to enter into negotiations immediately.

“The repercussions of further delays will not only deprive businesses and communities in and around the capital of extra investment in innovation, culture and housing in the short term, but also raise concerns about the UK Government’s commitment to investing a transformative sum in the final deal.”