The last couple of weeks have seen Aberdeen visited by the Prime Minister and the First Minister, the announcement of the City Region Deal, and several other funding announcements.
From the UK Government, we have seen a commitment of £125m, against £379m of input from the Scottish Government. Although we can all welcome support for much needed infrastructure in our region, it’s a shame that the promised matched funding from Westminster is actually less than a third of the total.
As the oil industry changes, it is especially vital to retain opportunities in the North East for talented staff. I was delighted that Nicola Sturgeon announced £12m in funding for a transition training fund, to help people retrain in the energy sector. Separately, Scottish Enterprise announced £12.5m to support innovation in oil and gas. These investments in jobs and workers will help us to tackle the challenges ahead.
Last week, I was pleased to speak in support of an amendment to the Health Bill giving patients a statutory right to access communications equipment. Voice loss can be caused conditions including motor neurone disease and has a huge impact on people’s lives. Technology is paving the way for people who lose their voice to communicate much more easily, and I am pleased to have backed this change to ensure patients receive the support they need through the NHS
Aberdeen Airport has announced a £20m revamp, including a significant increase in the size of the terminal. Improved facilities can help us to encourage more people to visit the North East, and to do business here. Hopefully it will also mean a better experience for folk going on holiday, and more destinations available.
It’s not often I can reflect on so many large government investments in our city region in a short time. I’ll keep working with colleagues, Councils, and government, listening to constituents to fight our corner. We must work together to make sure that these projects are well delivered for the maximum benefit of everyone, and that our needs are heard clearly when it matters. I know constituents rightly expect nothing less of their politicians.