Borderlands Partnership welcomes Governments’ funding commitment

The Borderlands Partnership has welcomed the commitment in the Spring Statement and the announcement of a £345million deal from the UK and Scottish Governments, describing the news as a ‘game changer’.

By Ian Smith
Wednesday, 13 March, 2019, 14:25
The Maltings in Berwick. Picture by Jane Coltman

The multi-million-pound funding stream comes just six months after the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal proposal was presented to the two Governments.

And it will mean thousands of new job opportunities, millions of extra tourists to the area, improved digital connectivity and unlocking investment in towns across the region generating a predicted £1.3bn return on the Governments’ investment.

The Borderlands Partnership is a unique collaboration that brings together the five cross-border local authorities - Carlisle City Council, Cumbria County Council, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Northumberland County Council and Scottish Borders Council.

Detailed talks will now continue to establish the exact level of funding allocated to various schemes.

A Borderlands Partnership spokesperson said: “We’re delighted with this funding announcement - it will be a real game changer for everyone who lives and works in the area.

“A lot of hard work has gone into getting this far and there’s been a collective will from both Governments and the Partnership over the past two years.

“Now we know how much we’re getting overall, we can start planning the detail to be able to deliver a range of projects across the region, all designed to boost productivity and to achieve inclusive growth.

“What is already clear is that the long-term benefits will reach all parts of the Borderlands. This deal will directly benefit 1.1m residents and will generate job opportunities as well as attracting extra tourists to our region each year.

“It will improve our productivity, help us to attract younger people to live and work in the region as well as improve the quality of life for our existing residents and communities.”

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Peter Jackson, leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “We welcome today’s announcement which will provide a huge boost to both Northumberland and the wider Borderlands region.

“This is another fantastic example of cross party, cross Border working and shows what can be achieved when we pull together. We can look forward with confidence to more and better jobs, improved transport links and digital connectivity and a further rise in tourism.“We now look forward to finalising the specific funding details which will enable us to identify exactly which projects and programmes will be able to be progressed in the county and beyond.“It makes me proud to be leader of a county council with such great ambitions for our area.”

Councillor Shona Haslam, Scottish Borders Council’s leader, said: “The Scottish Borders will benefit significantly from the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal and we welcome the announcement today.

“One of the key goals for the Deal is a commitment to a feasibility study into the extending the Borders Railway beyond Tweedbank to Carlisle.

“The close work between all five local authority partners helped to develop an exceptionally strong case for the Deal, and together we’ve worked hard with both the UK and Scottish governments to secure this funding announcement.

“For the Scottish Borders, this is just one of a number of exciting developments that will provide significant investment in our area from both the public and private sector, including the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal and the upcoming establishment of South of Scotland Enterprise.”

The Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal has six key programmes: Digital; Borderlands Energy Investment Company; Destination Borderlands; Quality of Place; Knowledge Exchange Network and Business Infrastructure Programme. The Partnership believes that collectively these will deliver benefits across the wider Borderlands geography.

There are also four place-based projects: the redevelopment of Chapelcross former power station; Mountain Bike Innovation Centre; Berwick Theatre and Conference Centre and Carlisle Station Gateway and additional projects such as the Borders Railway extension.

For more information visit the partnership website www.Borderlandsgrowth.com or email info@borderlandsgrowth.com