Impatience grows over Borderlands Growth Deal announcement

Castle Douglas, the food town
Castle Douglas, the food town

Calls have been made on the UK and Scottish Governments to announce funding for the Borderlands Growth Deal Initiative.

The plea, from South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth, comes as the UK and Scottish Governments have announced funding for the Ayrshire Growth Deal ahead of the agreement and signing of Heads of Terms for that particular Growth Deal. That Growth Deal has had a pledge of £100 million from the UK Government and £100 million from the Scottish Government.

The Borderlands Growth Deal is a proposed deal from both Dumfries and Galloway Council and Scottish Borders Council on the Scottish border and Cumbria County Council, Carlisle City Council and Northumberland County Council on the English side.

The Deal proposals were formally submitted by the local authorities in September last year. A clear deadline was set by the Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell MP, which meant proposals being submitted by the local authorities by the end of September would see a monetary value in the UK Government Budget last year. After this broken promise there is still no date set for reaching Heads of Terms and no funding announcement has been made.

Mr Smyth MSP said: “The five Borderlands local authorities met the deadline set to them by David Mundell to submit proposals for a Borderlands Growth Deal last year. Despite meeting this deadline the UK and Scottish Government have not committed a single penny to the Growth Deal.

“The concentration so far has been on agreeing and signing Heads of Terms which could end up being after the English local council elections in May due to election rules. With the announcement of funds for Ayrshire Growth Deal by the UK and Scottish Governments that means the Borderlands is the only current deal proposal that hasn’t had any funding announced by either Government.

“Both the UK and Scottish Governments should now commit to funding for the Borderlands Growth Deal. As the Ayrshire Growth Deal shows, they don’t need to wait until the Heads of Terms are agreed and signed as they previous claimed.”