Scotland politics

Funding challenge issued over Tay Cities Deal

Dundee Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Tay Cities Deal includes Dundee, as well as Perth, Angus and north Fife

The Scottish government says it will invest £200m in the Tay Cities Deal - and has challenged the UK government to match it.

Previous deals for areas including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness and Aberdeen have seen the Scottish and UK governments match each other's funding.

But there have been reports that the UK government wants to spend less than £200m on the Tay Cities Deal.

The deal will cover Dundee, Perth, Angus and north Fife.

There has been speculation that the Chancellor may make an announcement on the scheme in his budget on Monday.

Responding to the Scottish government announcement, a UK government spokeswoman said its investment would be "based on our assessment of the projects that have come forward - not on arbitrary challenges".

And she said the UK government was not "playing politics with the Tay Cities deal".

City Region Deals are agreements between the Scottish and UK governments and local councils that are designed to bring long-term improvements to regional economies.

Deals are already in place for Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness and Highland, Stirling and Clackmannanshire and Edinburgh and south east Scotland.

The Tay Cities Deal hopes to create thousands of new jobs over the next 10-15 years by focusing on the themes of skills, tourism, transport and innovation.

Announcing the Scottish government's £200m commitment to the project, Infrastructure Secretary Michael Matheson challenged the UK government to match the investment.

He said the money would "help the region continue to thrive and grow, fulfilling our ambitions for the region to be one of the most economically and culturally vibrant areas in the country and delivering benefits to the whole of Scotland".

'Match our commitment'

Mr Matheson added: "A Tay Cities Region Deal of this scale has the power to build on the area's significant strengths and expertise.

"I expect City Region Deals to be funded on a 50:50 basis and I call on the UK government to match our commitment and make this a £400m deal".

The UK government spokeswoman said the Tay Cities Deal would bring "transformative change" to the area, and that it was essential for everyone involved to work together.

But she stressed: "The UK government's commitment will be based on our assessment of the projects that have come forward - not on arbitrary challenges.

"We are not playing politics with the Tay Cities deal. We expect the Scottish government to meet their responsibilities and support projects in areas that are devolved to Holyrood.

"We expect to announce further progress very soon and will move quickly towards signing Heads of Terms following discussions with the partners."

When the Tay Cities Deal bid was launched last year, it was seeking £826m over 10 years from the Scottish and UK governments and their agencies, and a further £1bn from councils, colleges and universities, and the public, private and voluntary sectors.

Its submission document included more than 50 projects, including the Cross Tay Link Road and a scheme to boost employment through oil and gas decommissioning.

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