£100 million investment in Moray endorsed as Moray Growth Deal signed
INVESTMENT of more than £100 million in Moray over the next decade was endorsed today (20 December) with the official signing of the Moray Growth Deal.
It signals confidence from both the UK and Scottish governments in plans to drive innovation and growth in the region, with projects within the Deal designed to maximise Moray’s economic competitiveness.
Moray Growth Deal brings together the Scottish and UK governments, Moray Council, partners from across the public and third sector, and businesses. The combined investment will see up to £32.5 million pledged from the Scottish and UK Governments respectively, with regional partners contributing up to £35.8 million.
The Deal sets out to attract and retain young people and families in Moray, create new high-quality jobs in existing sectors and support diversification into new high-value areas, create opportunities for future community prosperity, and address inequalities such as the gender pay gap. It’s estimated that more than 3,500 jobs will be created directly or indirectly by the Deal, 50,000 more tourists attracted to the area, more than 300 affordable new homes constructed, and the growth of 450 businesses supported – increasing the value of the Moray economy by £82 million.
The transformational investment provides an unrivalled opportunity to build on the existing strengths of Moray’s culture, tourism, and world-renowned manufacturing sectors. Investment will target growth sectors, delivering industry-leading projects in health and aerospace, as well as early years education to expand Moray’s future Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills-base to enable local people to develop the skills needed to access high-quality jobs.
Over the next 10 years current and future residents, and businesses within Moray, will benefit from major investment in projects including:
- a world-class Moray Aerospace, Advanced Technology and Innovation Campus (MAATIC) to provide training, innovation and research development supporting aerospace and other manufacturing enterprises, and development of advanced engineering skills in the region’s workforce with specialisms in aviation, aerospace, and digital manufacturing;
- a Manufacturing Innovation Centre for Moray (MICM) to bring world-leading research and development expertise in advanced manufacturing to increase productivity, create jobs, attract inward investment and grow the region's manufacturing outputs;
- supporting scaling-up of existing small and micro-businesses, as well as providing support to start-ups, university spin-outs and inward investors, through a Business Enterprise Hub;
- supporting the delivery of 300 affordable homes through enabling sustainable design, supporting town centre and rural regeneration through transforming empty and derelict land and properties in towns and villages, and on the edge of Moray’s town centres;
- the creation of a vibrant Cultural Quarter to support inclusive economic growth and cultural expansion within Elgin and beyond – including the refurbishment of Grant Lodge and Elgin Town Hall, and the opportunity for a privately-funded high-quality hotel;
- specialist facilities and learning environments for STEM including a mobile facility, working with partners to deliver STEM learning on-site in places such as MAATIC, and facilitating inter-generational learning; all aimed at positively changing attitudes towards STEM and how it is perceived in Moray;
- provision of a low-carbon, on-demand bus service to offer a rural alternative to private vehicle use, featuring innovative app-based technology to allow ’uber’ style bookings;
- establishing a centre for research and innovation in digital health, to establish new technologies in the health sector including technology for use in smart homes and independent living.
Leader of Moray Council, Cllr Graham Leadbitter, said: “The signing of the Moray Growth Deal marks the culmination of a huge amount of work by the Council, our local public and private sector partners, alongside the Scottish & UK Governments. The work done to get to this stage should not be underestimated and has put the meat on the bones of 100 million pounds worth of innovation projects for Moray.
“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 underway, 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 this close working and strengthened relationships will extend far beyond the Growth Deal.”
UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said: “This major investment into Moray will be truly transformational, supporting the area, its people and businesses to reach their full potential.
“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.
"The UK Government's £32.5 million support for the deal is part of £1.7 billion we are investing right across Scotland to level up communities and build back better from the pandemic."
Scottish Government Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said: “I am delighted to sign the Moray Growth Deal today confirming Scottish Government investment of up to £32.5 million in a range of projects that will boost the region’s economy.
“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.
“Projects supported with Scottish Government investment will improve access to sustainable transport, deliver affordable housing, grow the region’s visitor economy, support business growth – including cutting edge innovation in manufacturing – and develop the pipeline of future talent in technology and engineering needed to support key industry sectors.
“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.”