New committee meet as Deal value tops £1 billion

Recently the first meeting of the Aberdeen City Region Deal Joint Committee met, under the new council membership following the election in May.

Thursday, June 23, 2022
The Joint Committee drives and governs the implementation of the City Region Deal programme and its links to the Regional Economic Strategy. It works to maximise the economic benefits of the Deal. It is made up from three Aberdeen City Council Councillors, three Aberdeenshire Council Councillors and three Opportunity North East Board Members.

Cllr Alexander Nicoll, co-leader of Aberdeen City Council was chosen to be Chair of the Joint Committee for the coming year. Councillor Anne Stirling, Deputy Leader of Aberdeenshire Council was appointed to Vice-Chair.

Councillor Nicoll said: "The Aberdeen City Region Deal continues to play a vital role in strengthening our economic position whilst promoting inclusive growth within our communities. In working with government as well as public and private sector colleagues, we have supported traditional industries -- including oil and gas -- and created enterprise opportunities in everything from life sciences to tourism to green energy. We are confident we can build on the success of the Deal and through our strategic partnership deliver further benefits for both local residents and the country."

Cllr Stirling said: “It is a pleasure to be working on the Aberdeen City Region Deal Joint Committee, at such a pivotal point in the Deal programme. The Deal has such an instrumental role in economic stability, providing us optimism for the future. A great deal of work has already taken place since it was signed back in 2016. Becoming a member of the Joint Committee at the time of the publication of the Annual Report is an opportunity to see just how far this work has come. I look forward to working with City and private sector partners in the coming months to deliver additional positive outcomes for the communities across the region.”

Sir Ian Wood KT GBE, chair of Opportunity North East, said: “The Aberdeen City Region Deal, with ONE’s private sector leadership playing an important role, has secured investment in transformational projects to drive energy transition and diversification in established and emerging industries in the region – including BioHub for life sciences and SeedPod for food and drink manufacturing. These projects are more critical than ever to north east Scotland’s future economy, business growth and jobs. The private and public sectors continue to work in partnership to secure resources and invest in economic transformation.”

During the meeting, members were taken through an update on the significant deal projects. Among them they were updated on:
  • The project to improve road links to Aberdeen’s new South Harbour which will be subject to an accelerated programme of improving the local infrastructure.
  • There was an important debate with input from Network Rail on the project to improve rail journey times to Dundee and the Central Belt, and members were assured that this would make significant inroads in also improving rail freight capacity on the network.
At the meeting, Committee also endorsed the Annual Report.

The document, a document which is reported back to UK and Scottish Government, shows that so far, the deal has won awards for social value, provided employment and training opportunities, improved access to faster broadband for 75% of residents in the city alone, and developed innovative transport pilot projects.

The Deal itself is also now worth £1 billion and has stimulated private investment from 59% to 67%. The role of the public and private sectors in the deal were always designed to stimulate that provide sector involvement

Details of all the projects in the scope of the City Region Deal can be found in more detail within the annual report at the link above.

UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said: "The Aberdeen City Region Deal is making a real difference to communities across the North East, with significant improvements to connectivity and support for the transition to a Net-Zero economy. The deal is unlocking huge amounts of private sector investment. As more projects enter delivery, it will spur innovation and bring more high-skill, high-wage jobs to the region. The UK Government is investing £125m in the deal as part our £2bn support for levelling-up across Scotland."

Scottish Government Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said: “The Deal has been successful in supporting the development of new technologies and associated businesses within the Aberdeen City Region, which has enabled regional partners to lever in even higher than anticipated levels of private sector investment for the region. As part of our National Strategy for Economic Transformation, the Scottish Government will do all it can to support projects that help create the fairer, greener and more prosperous Scotland we all want to see.”

The report foreword concludes with the summary: “In conclusion, the success of the Aberdeen City Region Deal in securing industry support and engagement is widely acknowledged. This year has seen further investment by industry in the Deal projects. The Deal had an initial Private Sector Investment of 59%, which has grown to 67%. This along with other partner investment has taken the Deal value to over £1B. This report highlights the combined power of public, private and third sector working together.”

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