Hundreds of millions of pounds will be invested in key industries as part of a flagship scheme that will see thousands of jobs created in Scotland, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Monday.
Nearly 6,000 jobs are forecast to be created from the £480 million investment across Falkirk and Grangemouth, with the bulk of the cash set to come from private investors.
The jobs will range from work improving M9 motorway links to key industrial sites, to creating 400,000 square metres of new business space as part of major building projects.
There will also be work linked to improving flood defences to protect the port and refinery in the Falkirk and Grangemouth area. A large number of the jobs are likely to be created in industries such as the chemical and sciences sector, as well as in manufacturing.
The investment includes £67m from a Falkirk Council scheme, with £413m expected to be levered in by the authority from private investors.
Falkirk Council’s Tax Incremental Financing (Tif) scheme involves the authority funding infrastructure by borrowing against future business rate income that should be generated by the development.
Councils across Scotland have applied to be part of Tif schemes, with other major
developments including a regeneration scheme in the centre of Glasgow.
The £480m for Falkirk and Grangemouth will be invested in major construction projects over three phases covering a 25-year period, the Deputy First Minister said.
Ms Sturgeon, who announced the scheme in Falkirk yesterday, said the initiative would “allow dozens of major construction developments across the area to unlock significant economic
development and regeneration”.
She said: “We will use every lever at our disposal, within our devolved powers, to boost capital spending and through innovative financing schemes such as Tif, support jobs, apprenticeships and help the Scottish economy.
“Scotland needs independence so the Scottish Parliament can have full control over taxation, borrowing and spending to determine investment priorities according to the needs of the Scottish economy and public services, to promote growth, employment and opportunities for all to flourish.”
Business leaders, already signed up to the scheme, said the hundreds of millions of pounds of investment already earmarked for the area would help Scotland’s economy grow. Stuart Wallace, divisional director of Forth Ports Limited, said: “This is good news for the area. The planned investment, in particular the road improvements, will be of great benefit to businesses in the local area, to Scottish business as a whole and to local people.
“The Falkirk and Grangemouth areas are very much at the centre of Scotland’s economy with the Port of Grangemouth providing the main access point for goods entering and leaving Scotland.”
Chemical Sciences Scotland chairman, Sandy Dobbie, said: “Collectively we have ambitious plans to encourage more
co-location opportunities, increase investment in research and development activity, and attract greater inward investment opportunities to Grangemouth.”
The Scottish Futures Trust, the body set up by the SNP to deliver major building projects, has been involved in the Tif scheme to secure the investment.
Barry White, chief executive of the Scottish Futures Trust, said the scheme would have a “positive impact” on the economy of the Falkirk and Grangemouth area over the coming decades.
Craig Martin, the Labour leader of Falkirk Council, said: “This investment signals a new chapter for Falkirk as it gears up to play a significant role in Scotland’s economic growth, export trade and jobs creation.”