Falkirk set to get £90 million in new investment deal

Council leader is disappointed in £40 million Growth Deal

Falkirk Council will get £90 million from UK and Scottish governments to boost investment and create jobs.

The £40 million from the UK government is part of Falkirk’s long-awaited Growth Deal.

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That sum is being matched by the same amount from the Scottish Government with an additional £10 million for green economy ambitions.

Falkirk Council leader Cecil Meiklejohn says the sum does not recognise the vital importance of Grangemouth's role in the national economy

However, it is a fraction of the £238 million Falkirk Council had been hoping would enable ambitious plans to improve the area’s infrastructure and help the area move to a low carbon economy.

Falkirk Council leader Cecil Meiklejohn says the sum does not recognise the vital importance of Grangemouth’s role in the national economy.

However, the UK Government says the cash will “drive forward economic growth across the area”.

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Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “The Falkirk Growth Deal will enable the regional economy to innovate, boosting investment and providing sustainable, high-quality jobs.”

Mrs Meiklejohn welcomed the money which she said would support the delivery of the Falkirk and Grangemouth Investment Zone – but she admitted she was disappointed that the amount was so low.

She said: “We welcome this offer of support and will work with Scottish and UK Governments to progress this initiative while seeking further assistance to deliver on the full scale of the ambition for our area’s economy.

“The award, however, is relatively low considering our population and large-scale ambitions we have for the area and Grangemouth’s strategic importance to the Scottish and UK economies.

“Our plans also included national scale plans such as a transition to a low carbon future and significant reduction in climate change.

“The Investment Zone for Falkirk-Grangemouth aims to transform the area’s economic fortunes at a vitally important time especially post Covid-19.

“We will continue to push for more funding sources to ensure the vital role the local economy plays in Scotland and further afield is recognised and supported leading to large scale employment opportunities as well as enabling innovation.”

As one of the last council areas in Scotland to be awarded a Growth Deal, Falkirk Council had been discussing the bid with both UK and Scottish Government for the past year.

The Scottish Government contribution of £50 million, which will be invested over 10 years, will fund targeted economic development activity across infrastructure, transport, innovation, energy transition and skills.

Economy secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The Falkirk Growth Deal demonstrates our commitment to supporting the region and delivering long-term benefits to the local communities and businesses.

“We will continue to work with our partners in Falkirk and the UK Government, supported by our enterprise and skills agencies, to help them to consider proposals that will unlock investment and drive inclusive growth across the area, creating a fairer, greener and more inclusive wellbeing economy.”

This story first appeared on our sister site the Falkirk Herald.

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