Council hopes growth deal will breathe new life into county

Northumberland County Council hopes a new growth deal for the Borders will breathe new life into previously ‘neglected’ areas of the county.

David Mundell MP, Secretary of State for Scotland and Jake Berry MP, Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth Minister, joined cross-border local authority partners (Carlisle City Council, Cumbria County Council, Dumfries & Galloway Council, Northumberland County Council and Scottish Borders Council) for the first Borderlands Growth Deal meeting of 2018.

This was the first meeting with UK Government Ministers since the UK Chancellor committed to opening negotiations on a Growth Deal for the area in the 2017 Budget.

Northumberland County Council Leader Peter Jackson said: “This deal is all about bringing new life to some of the previously neglected areas of north and west Northumberland.

“Whether it be in terms of improving business investment, digital connectivity, tourism or making sure that people have the skills necessary for the modern world, we will use this deal to provide better prospects for our communities.”

A Borderlands spokesperson said: “Our shared ambition is to play our full part in the regional and wider UK economy and unlock the potential of the south of Scotland and north of England. We welcomed the opportunity to discuss the Borderlands Growth Deal direct with Ministers. Discussions were positive and although they remain at a relatively early stage we look forward to more collaboration and discussion with both the UK and Scottish governments.”

Scottish Secretary David Mundell added: “We are continuing to make good progress towards a Borderlands Growth Deal, which has the potential to transform the economy of the whole region, creating jobs and increasing prosperity. We had a productive meeting with the five Borderlands local authority partners. I was impressed with their enthusiasm for, and the energy behind, creating a transformative deal.  We will continue to work closely with the Borderlands partners to work up the detail of their proposals.

Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth Minister Jake Berry said: “I'm delighted that we've fired the starting gun on this hugely exciting coast to coast Borderlands Growth Deal-something that will be unique in the UK. I am looking forward to us continuing this progress working with the Borderlands councils and the Scottish Government in the coming months on developing an ambitious sector led deal that will encourage growth and productivity to create thriving local economies both sides of the border."

The Borderlands partnership brought together the five cross-border local authorities of Carlisle City Council, Cumbria County Council, Dumfries & Galloway Council, Northumberland County Council and Scottish Borders Council to promote the economic growth and competitiveness of an area that straddles the Scotland-England border.

Last year a formal proposition was submitted to the UK and Scottish governments for consideration, focusing on the factors which make the area attractive to investors, visitors and those who wish to relocate. It also aimed to tackle the need for population growth and improved productivity.

The proposition focused on several key themes, including: digital technology; innovation; low carbon; and energy. The approach is based on existing physical and infrastructure connections, and transport and connectivity are at the heart of the partners’ proposals, linking the opportunities that can be created and informing future projects.

Picture shows Cllr Peter Jackson (left) with Jake Berry MP
 
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