MPs from across Ayrshire teamed up last week to host an event in Westminster aimed at promoting the region ahead of a UK Government decision on the Ayrshire Growth Deal.
The two-part event was organised by the four MPs representing Ayrshire constituencies Alan Brown MP (Kilmarnock & Loudon), Patricia Gibson MP (North Ayrshire & Arran), Corri Wilson MP (Ayr, Carrick & Cumnock) and Dr Philippa Whitford (Central Ayrshire) – and in partnership with East, North and South Ayrshire Councils.
In the morning the Ayrshire Larder event focused on Ayrshire’s exceptional and award-winning food and drink, featuring produce from local dairy, beef and seafood suppliers, as well as farmhouse cheese makers, ice cream makers, bakers, brewers, smokehouses, chocolatiers and market gardeners.
The Ayrshire Business Showcase in the afternoon provided an opportunity to promote the Ayrshire Growth Deal to Government ministers, MPs and their staff ahead of the Spring Budget in March and featured representatives from a number of local businesses and organisations in the aerospace and space, life sciences, manufacturing, tourism and coastal sectors, as well education and training providers.
Speaking after the event, Alan Brown, MP Kilmarnock and Loudoun, said: “It was an honour to host the Ayrshire Larder and Ayrshire Business Showcase in Westminster and I was delighted that so many local businesses supported these events and help put Ayrshire on the map.
“There was a great buzz round the food and drink event as guests sampled the delights of the Kilmarnock Pie and haggis pakora for the first time – and while I am familiar with the products – I thoroughly enjoyed sampling some home produce in London.
“In the afternoon our businesses and education establishments impressed everyone with their collaborative approach to ensure our young people get the best opportunities to access the right skill sets, qualifications and pathways to employment.
“The message is clear, Ayrshire is open for business and with the Scottish Government on board, we hope the UK Government will formally commit following their positive feedback today.”
Councillor Elena Whitham, East Ayrshire Cabinet member with responsibility for economy also attended the event. She said: “I was immensely proud to represent East Ayrshire at these events, which have really helped to raise the profile of everything that the area has to offer.
“This is a region full of potential and ambition and by working collectively with colleagues and partners across the whole of Ayrshire we are in a much stronger position to seize the opportunities the Growth Deal presents.”