Argyll and Bute to receive £50m Rural Growth Deal

Argyll and Bute Council has welcomed the announcement of a £50 million Rural Growth Deal as a “transformational vote of confidence” in the area.

The announcement was made yesterday as Treasury officials confirmed the UK government’s £25m contribution to the deal would be finalised “in a matter of weeks” and had said that a similar multi-million pound deal for the Western Isles would be announced in future.

The remaining £25m will be matched by the Scottish Government.

The council has been championing a deal for Argyll and Bute with both governments, based on a number of projects developed with public and private sector partners.

Aileen Morton, councillor and leader of Argyll and Bute Council, said: “This scale of investment is a transformational vote of confidence in the future of Argyll and Bute. This area has fantastic natural resources, an innovative, skilled workforce, and public and private sector organisations committed to its future success.”

She added: “However, to deliver the change needed to build our economy and with it a sustainable future for Argyll and Bute, we need significant investment. That is what we have achieved through our Rural Growth Deal. Our next step will be to work with the Scottish and UK governments to prioritise how we put this investment to work for Argyll and Bute.”

Along with its partners, the council had designed proposals to deliver success across Argyll and Bute, based on three key drivers:

• Attracting: additional skills, training and learning opportunities; new residents, visitors and businesses
• Growing: doing more of what works; making more of our natural and built resources
• Connecting: our high-value business sectors with national and international business markets; our local economic successes with national strategic priorities.

Gary Mulvaney, councillor and depute leader of Argyll and Bute Council paid tribute to everyone involved in developing the deal.

He said: “Securing such significant investment is down to public and private sectors, and members of the public through consultation, working together for the future of Argyll and Bute. It is important to note that this funding will be dedicated to transformational development projects; it cannot be used for day-to-day service delivery. It provides a strong foundation for delivering rural growth deal priorities. This is great news for Argyll and Bute.”

Infrastructure secretary Michael Matheson said the UK government “is simply re-announcing money that has already been committed”.

He added: “The Scottish Government has made clear our commitment to invest in the Argyll & Bute Growth Deal, and we have been ready to do so for some considerable time.

“On the basis of our 50:50 approach to funding growth deals, we will, of course, match the £25m announced by the UK Government – adding to the £1.8 billion we have committed to City and Growth Deals across Scotland.

“We will continue to help our Argyll & Bute partners develop and refine the projects they think will have the transformative effect on the local economy that we all want to see.

“We will announce a Heads of Terms agreement shortly, which will outline the projects that will be supported by this joint investment.”

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