The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced that the funding for the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal will be accelerated as the UK Government reconfirmed its commitment to the Deal. As part of the 2020 Spending Review, it was confirmed that the investment into the projects of the Deal would be delivered over 10 rather than 15 years.
The Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal is truly distinctive, covering the largest area of any local growth deal negotiated with the UK and Scottish Governments and the first cross-border deal. The local authority partners, Carlisle City Council, Cumbria County Council, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Northumberland County Council and Scottish Borders Council, have agreed with the UK and Scottish Governments that the full Deal will be signed off by March 2021.
Cllr John Mallinson, Leader of Carlisle City Council and Borderlands Partnership Board Co-Chair, said: “It’s fantastic news that the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal investment of over £350m will be accelerated. The Deal is an ambitious approach to cross-border working between Governments, local authorities and other partners which will boost economic growth by helping existing business, encouraging new ventures and bringing a wealth of improvements to our region.
“The Deal will also provide crucial support to our region’s recovery from the Covid-19 emergency and ensure we set in place strong foundations on which to build back better and greener, delivering inclusive and sustainable growth.”
Cllr Shona Haslam, Leader of Scottish Borders Council and Borderlands Partnership Board Co-Chair, said: “The Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal will have a transformational impact on the whole region, with the aim of creating 5,500 jobs, bringing in over 4 million extra tourists and improving mobile and digital connections thanks to the funding from the two governments and the additional investment the deal will attract.
“The unlocking of investment in our towns will generate a predicted £1.1billion uplift in the region’s GVA and the partners will be able to deliver individually and collectively a range of projects which will not only improve the area for existing residents but also encourage more to move here, which will help address some of the common challenges we face.”
The Deal will deliver across four areas: improving places; enabling infrastructure; encouraging green growth; and supporting innovation, business and skills.
The work includes a feasibility study into the extension of the Borders Railway from Carlisle to Tweedbank and funding for an exciting redevelopment of Carlisle Station and the surrounding area so it can act as a gateway to the region. The Deal will support the delivery of a new Berwick Theatre and the skills and innovation work will include the development of a Mountain Biking Innovation Centre in the Scottish Borders. Funding will also support the 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.
The Deal will deliver an investment of £31m in green energy projects, along with much needed improvements in digital and mobile connectivity across the region. The importance of the region’s towns will be the focus of the Place Programme, linked to tourism and business infrastructure investments.
The Deal is currently undergoing the final stages of work before it is formally signed. Early delivery has started on some of the Deal projects in Northumberland and Cumbria, following release of 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; £5m towards the building of Lillidorei, a large-scale new play village to enhance the visitor offer at the Alnwick Gardens and the start of the work to redevelop Carlisle Station.