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07/04/2015

Welsh and Scottish capitals unveil city deal aims

Words: Laura Edgar

Plans for potential £1 billion city deals in Cardiff and Edinburgh have been backed by their respective councils.

The Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region - comprising Edinburgh, Borders, Fife, Mid, East and West Lothian council - is working to develop a deal with the Scottish and UK Governments. 

At the centre of the deal, said the City of Edinburgh Council, is a £1 billion infrastructure fund that includes “priority investment” for transport, housing, economic regeneration, energy and digital connectivity.

Speaking on behalf of the six local authorities, City of Edinburgh Council leader Andrew Burns said the councils want to build on their strengths and tackle “persistent pockets of inequality” that “threaten to hold the region back”.

The next step, explained Burns, is to “seek UK and Scottish Government agreement on the development of a detailed proposition; one that we believe can unlock billions of pounds of potential infrastructure investment, thereby ensuring the continued growth and reduction in inequality across one of Europe's most successful city region economies”.

A report detailing a plan for a £1 billion city deal has been discussed and backed by Cardiff Council. The council is now entering negotiations with the UK and Welsh Governments to secure the deal.

The council said a City Deal could “unlock significant new money to support capital investment in major infrastructure priorities for the city-region”.

The report recommends, however, that the structure of Cardiff Business Council needs to be reviewed to ensure that it is fit for purpose and able to deliver the requirements for a city deal. This would take place immediately, said the council.

Cardiff Council leader Phil Bale said that the city has to take part in the deal or “risk being left behind”.

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