Wednesday, November 3, 2021
The Aberdeen City Region Deal is playing a key role in supporting economic recovery and the creation of green jobs for the future across Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire.

More than £504 million has been invested to date by the public and private sectors in transformational industry innovation and growth projects and digital and physical infrastructure.

The newly published Annual Report for the Aberdeen City Region Deal highlights significant progress across its transformational projects as the region develops its leadership in the low-carbon economy across key industry sectors including energy, digital, transport, food and drink, and life sciences.

The #ABZDeal was formally signed in 2016, and is now a £936 million partnership between Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council, Opportunity North East, Scottish Government and UK Government.

The 2021 report shows success in a number of areas:
• Speed and progress being made towards £2m of digital improvements in the City Network Extension project, connecting 57 corporate sites with a commercial investment of £40million by CityFibre to make Aberdeen a Gigabit City. (report page 44)
• In Aberdeenshire, the Full Fibre project investment of £10.5m to connect 191 public sites in Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire including GP surgeries, schools, hospitals.
• Progress on construction of the £40 million BioHub, which will be home to 400 scientific entrepreneurs and drive life sciences innovation, collaboration and commercialisation when it opens in 2022.
• Key milestones in the development of the £21 million SeedPod innovation hub, including planning approval, which will support food and drink manufacturers to adopt new technology, drive advanced manufacturing efficiencies, use global insights for premium product development, and lead in low-carbon, sustainable food production. (report page 30)
• Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire’s leadership in energy transition and the low-carbon economy, including the £390m Net Zero Technology Centre’s work to develop and deploy technology to accelerate the transition to an affordable net zero North Sea. (report, page 14)

Collectively, the Deal’s projects support the region’s vision for economic diversification and renewal, which are vital for sustainable business growth in key sectors, high-value green jobs to drive economic recovery and a just transition that provides work, training and skills opportunities.

Chair of the Aberdeen City Region Deal Joint Committee and Leader of Aberdeenshire Council Cllr Andy Kille said: “Our City Region Deal is now in its fifth year. The period since the last annual report however feels like a lifetime, and we have witnessed a seismic global shift throughout the pandemic. It has touched every aspect of our life and work, all whilst increasing the need for a deal such as ours to help stimulate sustainable economic growth and recovery.

“This Annual Report demonstrates, this year as in others, the impact of our Deal process over the 2020/21 financial period. We continue to see projects grow, evolve and positively impact our economy.

“Our deal, with its blend of public and private sector partners, is quite unique and continues to serve the projects well. It is our working model of collaboration, transparency, and the range of skills around the table which give us all confidence in the future of our projects and our partnership working.”

Vice chair of the Joint Committee is Aberdeen City Council leader Cllr Jenny Laing. She said: “At the half way point of the 10-year programme, we are making great progress with projects, with just over half of the funding put to work.

"Significant investment from the public sector, including Aberdeen City Council, has leveraged considerable private sector investment which accounts for two-thirds of the City Region Deal spend to date.”

Sir Ian Wood KT GBE, Chair of Opportunity North East, said: “ONE’s private sector leadership, action and co-investment are making an important contribution to achieving a green economic recovery. The region’s key industry sectors continue to look ahead, adapt and evolve. Investment in north east Scotland, including the ONE-led BioHub and SeedPod projects enabling growth in food and drink and life sciences, will deliver a national impact. These transformational projects make the City Region Deal and the partnerships between the private and public sector that underpin it more relevant than ever in the context of economic recovery and energy transition.”

UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said: "The latest Aberdeen City Region Deal annual report shows just how much significant progress has been made in the five years since its inception and I look forward to discussing it with partners in more detail shortly.

"Helping to drive growth and create jobs right across energy, digital, transport, food and drink and life sciences sectors, this is a great example of the UK and Scottish governments - who are providing £125 million each - working together with regional partners to support innovation and boost the economy in the north east of Scotland.

"The UK Government is delighted to be part of this near £1 billion investment partnership and the crucial role it will play in helping us to build back better from the pandemic."

Scottish Government Finance and Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said:
“The Aberdeen City Region Deal, backed by £125 million of Scottish Government funding over 10 years, is contributing to the region’s economic recovery by creating jobs and providing the commercial infrastructure to support and attract businesses to Aberdeen and the surrounding areas.

“This is a crucial time for business, trade and investment in Scotland and investing in our communities will ensure every part of Scotland recovers from the pandemic, helping build an economy for everyone.”

Full annual report is available here.

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