The Secretary of State for Scotland visited Ayrshire (22 June 2016) to learn more about a proposed economic collaboration between the three councils and their partners.
The Rt Hon David Mundell MP met with the three council leaders, Chief Executives and Scottish Enterprise to learn more about the key elements shaping the proposed Ayrshire Growth Deal.
Back in March, councillors of all three local authorities approved an ‘Ayrshire Growth Deal Prospectus’ – which was then submitted to the Scottish and UK Governments for consideration.
The document sets out a series of proposals that will see the Councils joining forces to capitalise on opportunities within Ayrshire that will ultimately boost the wider Scottish economy.
A successful bid will form the basis of a long-term economic and investment strategy that will combine the efforts of both the public and private sector to help grow the Scottish and UK economies.
Following the meeting in Kilmarnock, Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council, said “The Minister’s visit to East Ayrshire today presented the ideal opportunity for us to outline our proposals to accelerate economic growth across Ayrshire, which will in turn support Scotland’s own growth ambition.
“By working closely with governments on the agenda set out in our prospectus, we believe that we can realise our full potential, creating jobs and prosperity for all our communities.”
Councillor Willie Gibson, Leader of North Ayrshire Council, said: “We have consulted extensively with partner organisations and with local business to identify what the constraints to the Ayrshire economy are and where there is untapped potential for economic growth given the right support being available. We have identified opportunities for national and local government to work together to support regeneration that can make a difference.
“I was delighted that the Secretary of State visited Ayrshire to let us expand on our proposals.”
Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council, added: “We very much welcomed the opportunity to sit down with the Secretary of State to outline our ambitions for the Ayrshire economy and set out the positive difference the Ayrshire Growth Deal will make for people, businesses and communities not just in Ayrshire, but right across the country.
“We want to ensure that Ayrshire can punch well above its weight at both Scottish and UK levels in terms of its economic contribution and we will continue to do everything we can to deliver on that ambition and we look forward to working with the UK and Scottish Governments to achieve that.”
Mr Mundell added “I am very pleased to see that the three Ayrshire councils have worked together to draw up an ambitious and forward-looking strategy to boost business, jobs and prosperity in the area. Other areas in Scotland have worked together to put together city deal plans which have delivered real benefits to local communities. It is great to see the local authorities working so well together, and I look forward to working with them over the coming months to continue to develop the detail of the proposals.”
The Councils have identified key and specific projects that will be worked up into fully costed-project proposals. They are now asking the UK government for support to get the proposals to the next stage of development which is the preparation of a business case for the Ayrshire Growth Deal.