Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire councils have now handed in their statement of intent for a City Region Deal to the UK and Scottish Governments marking an important milestone in this vital initiative.
The statement of intent includes broad proposals in four key policy areas - housing, innovation, connectivity and internationalisation. These four areas are of huge significance to the North East economy and it is right that the bid focuses on them. Housing and connectivity are issues which are particularly important to me and I have campaigned on these issues for many years so it is good to see that the councils have included these in their key policy areas.
I also attended Offshore Europe last week where there were more exhibitors than ever before including over three hundred new exhibitors. The Oil and Gas is vital not only to our local economy here in the North East but to the wider Scottish and UK economy on the whole. That is why it is vital that the City Region Deal is successful allowing the local authorities to anchor the industry here in the North East, ensuring that we expand on the expertise we have retaining the future of the industry in the North East for decades to come.
In what are certainly tough times for our Oil and Gas industry, this bid will undoubtedly be welcomed and I was impressed with just how much work the two councils did in promoting the City Region Deal at Offshore Europe ensuring the industries represented were aware of the councils’ intentions for the future and how this links in with the industry.
It is vital to ensure that there is broad support for the city region deal bid. I had the opportunity to ask Scottish Government Ministers to outline their support for the bid something which they provided me with. However it is important now that they provide the support and advice needed to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire councils to take this bid forward and be successful. I will continue to make the case for the City Region Deal in Holyrood and pressing Ministers where appropriate to ensure that Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire councils have the best chance of securing the deal.