Edinburgh’s long-awaited £1 billion City Deal was today hailed as making a “real difference” to people’s lives.
The investment package – which also covers the other Lothian authorities, Fife and the Borders – will be unveiled this afternoon after a last-minute round of meetings averted fears the deal could fall through.
The deal will include five new innovation hubs including cutting-edge research in space, health sciences, agri-tech and food and drink, linked to Heriot-Watt, Queen Margaret and Edinburgh universities, the Roslin Institute and the UK’s National Supercomputer Centre at Easter Bush.
There will be a £50m development fund to accelerate private housebuilding in areas such as Granton waterfront and £15m to set up a new Edinburgh homes company, which will lever in up to £250m borrowing to expand housebuilding in the Capital.
The deal also includes the 1,000-seater concert hall, a permanent home for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, to be built behind the former RBS headquarters in St Andrew Square.
It will help fund the new Sheriffhall roundabout on the City Bypass.
There will be £20m for roads in West Edinburgh to help deal with the congestion issues around large new housing developments.
And another £25m will go to help boost employability and reduce skills shortages across the region.
But there is no new power to introduce a tourist tax, as had been hoped.
The UK and Scottish governments are each contributing £300 million with around £200m coming from the universities and other money from the councils involved. Scottish Secretary David Mundell said the deal would boost the economy of Edinburgh and the South-East Scotland for decades to come.
“It will make a real difference to the lives of people in the region, creating jobs and prosperity and driving investment,” he said.
Edinburgh’s is the fourth city deal to be agreed in Scotland after Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness.
Scottish Government Economy Secretary Keith Brown said the deal was expected to deliver 21,000 new jobs for the area.
“Taken together these projects will help the region continue to thrive and grow, fulfilling our ambitions for the region to be one of the fairest and most inclusive areas in the country,” he said.
Council leader Adam McVey said: “I’m delighted.”