Multi-million pound funding bid to grow economy approved by councillors

Multi-million pound funding bid to grow economy approved by councillors

Moray councillors have approved plans to bid for a multi-million pound growth fund bid to boost the area’s economy.

The bid could see funding from the UK and Scottish Governments to help develop the area’s growth in employment and commerce. Similar funding has been provided through City Deals to Aberdeen City and Inverness.

Officials are developing a proposal that will create a lasting legacy and allow the region to flourish.

One project already on the books for the growth fund bid is the creation of a massive business park at Barmuckity on the outskirts of Elgin, where up to 4,000 jobs could be created.

Announcing the bid to councilors at a meeting of the Full Council, Moray Council Convener, Cllr James Allan described it as one of the most ambitious investment projects ever launched in Moray.

“For many years, we have recognised the unique assets which Moray enjoys in terms of our physical environment, our internationally renowned businesses and our diverse communities.

“Wedo not see Moray as a rural hinterland, and we should approach this investment from the perspective that Moray has a unique, valid and profitable opportunity to capitalise on the Growth Fund programme.

“The extensive work done by officers over the past year has now created the potential for Moray to attract significant financial support from the Scottish and UK Governments for this programme, whilst also leveraging in funding from local industry and commerce.This Growth Deal provides a platform from which we can look ahead to 2030, to a time when we are recognised as a thriving and vibrant region with the infrastructure, housing and skills to enable our key industries to flourish.The impact of that change would be enjoyed for decades.

“As negotiations with the Scottish and UK Governments are poised to open, I would hope that the cross party support apparent at the early stages of the bid remains, and that local councillors, our local MSPs and our MP Douglas Ross will be equally supportive and engaged as the bid develops.

Moray Council will run a consultation between July and September to enable locals to say what projects they think deserve a slice of the funding.

Retaining people aged 16 to 29 years old in the region through higher-paid jobs, increasing the amount of young women in the area and improving infrastructure are already in the authority’s vision.

Cllr John Cowe, chair of the council’s economic development and Infrastructure Committee, said: “Overall, our economy has performed strongly in recent years, with our population growing and employment levels higher than in many comparable authorities.

“We have made a number of noteworthy major infrastructure investments such as our flood prevention schemes and new schools, but constraints on public sector funding have inevitably affected our ability to invest at the desired level in some key areas like roads and affordable housing.

“This is something that requires all councillors of all parties to work together on, because if successful this bid will provide bedrock upon which Moray’s economy can continue to grow well into the future”.

Moray Council area stretches from Tomintoul in the south to the shores of the Moray Firth, from Keith in the east to Forres in the west. The council and its 4,500 employees respond to the needs of 95,510 residents in this beautiful part of Scotland, which nestles between Aberdeenshire and the Highlands.

Famous for its colony of dolphins, fabulous beaches and more malt whisky distilleries than any where else in Scotland, Moray is a thriving area and a great place to live.

Headquartered in  Elgin, the administrative capital of Moray.

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