Borderlands deal at heart of budget

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Developing a ‘Borderlands Deal’ to attract investment will be at the heart of budget plans to be set out this week by the Labour-led Administration on Dumfries and Galloway Council.

As part of the budget proposals will be discussed next week at a meeting of the full council, Labour has pledged to spend an initial £150,00 over the next two years to develop a Borderlands Inclusive Growth Initiative.

Working in partnership with other local authorities, the council will develop a number of specific projects to be included in the Initiative to be presented to both the UK and Scottish Governments in a bid for capital funding.

In Dumfries and Galloway projects being considered for inclusion include: Transport and Connectivity

Road improvements to the A75 and between the M74 and Dumfries; West Coast Mainline improvements; Borders/Waverly Railway Extension; a programme of railway station reopening; digital improvements including ensuring the region benefits form Hyperfast Broadband

Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee Councillor Colin Smyth said “Building the local economy is our Council’s number one priority.

“That’s why we have been involved in discussions for some time with local authorities across the Borderlands about how we can work together to promote economic growth and competitiveness for the area.

“We were very clear that the last thing we wanted to see was another talking shop, so what has come from the discussions is a clear view that the way forward is to develop a range of projects, some cutting across several councils, others in specific council areas, that will require major Government investment but if funded would really help grow our economy.

“That’s why as part of our budget we are investing £150,000 over the next two years to fully develop those projects as far as Dumfries and Galloway is concerned”.

“By developing them through the umbrella of the Borderlands it increases our lobbying power and allows us to present the projects that emerge as the most viable, along with others from neighbouring councils, to both the UK and Scottish Governments as a ‘Borderlands Deal’ that could really transform the economy of the area.”

The Borderlands Initiative brings together the five cross-border local authorities of Carlisle City Council, Cumbria Council, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Northumberland County Council and Scottish Borders Council to promote economic growth and competitiveness in the area around the border.