£452m Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal signed

The Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal was formally signed on Thursday — bringing up to £452 million of fresh investment to the Borderlands area of Scotland and England.

Ministers of the UK and Scottish governments and representatives of the five councils of the Borderlands Partnership signed the deal at a virtual ceremony.

The deal covers the largest geographical area of any regional growth deal negotiated with the UK and Scottish Governments and is the first cross-border deal.

The regional partnership is made up of Carlisle City Council, Cumbria County Council, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Northumberland County Council and Scottish Borders Council.

The projects supported by the deal will benefit the one million people who live in the region.

The deal is focused on increasing productivity, growing the working age population, and delivering a more inclusive economy.

It aims to create up to 5,500 jobs and provide a £1.1 billion GVA boost to the region’s economy over 10-15 years.

Robert Jenrick MP, the UK Government’s Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, said: “The Borderlands Growth Deal will realise a new era of regeneration and opportunity as we build back better from the pandemic.

“The Ad Gefrin Visitor Experience and Distillery, and the Carlisle Station regeneration project are just two examples of schemes already benefitting from the Deal which will create jobs and improve regional connectivity.

“We’re levelling up across the UK by investing in jobs, driving economic growth, and strengthening our cross-border links.”

UK Government Minister for Scotland, Iain Stewart MP, said: “The benefits of the UK Government’s £265 million investment in the deal will be felt by communities across the whole of the Borderlands region and beyond.

“Exciting projects like the Mountain Bike Innovation Centre and a Dairy Innovation Centre in Dumfries, Dairy Nexus, will build on regional strengths to create jobs and prosperity, while improvements to digital and transport infrastructure will ensure that we build back better from the pandemic.

“Across Scotland and the Borderlands we have committed more than £1.7 billion to City Region and Growth Deals.”

The deal will deliver across four themes: improving places; enabling infrastructure; encouraging green growth; and supporting innovation, business and skills.

Some of the projects set to be delivered by the deal include:

  • redevelopment of Carlisle Station and the surrounding area, to act as a gateway to the region
  • work to assess the benefits and challenges of extending the Edinburgh – Tweedbank Borders Railway to Carlisle
  • a new Berwick Theatre
  • development of a Mountain Biking Innovation Centre in the Scottish Borders
  • development of Chapelcross in Dumfries and Galloway, as the region’s clean growth strategic investment site for low carbon energy generation and energy efficient businesses
  • improvements in digital and mobile connectivity across the region
  • investments in towns, tourism and business infrastructure, to position the Borderlands as an even more vibrant and attractive place to live and visit

Delivery has already started on some of the projects, following the release of early funding by the UK Government. This includes:

  • top-up funding for a Digital Voucher scheme supporting businesses and private customers to install high speed broadband
  • funding for the development of the Borderlands Energy Masterplan
  • £5 million towards the building of Lilidorei, a large-scale new play village to enhance the visitor offer at the Alnwick Gardens
  • work to redevelop Carlisle Station
  • a £3 million investment towards the Ad Gefrin Visitor Experience and Distillery in Northumberland