THE North-east has long been recognised as a powerhouse for Scotland and the UK, but a City Region Deal could help to maintain this success for years to come. A “Statement of Intent” was submitted to UK and Scottish governments last week. Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire councils have been working on detailed proposals for an Aberdeen City Region Deal and have the support of the region’s most influential business leaders. A range of engagement has been undertaken to inform the plans and this has shaped the latest stage of the bid. The Aberdeen City Region Deal would improve transport links, infrastructure and housing to meet the demands of a growing population, while investing in innovation, research and development and internationalisation to ensure that the area continues to contribute substantially to UK plc for decades to come. It is a chance to anchor the oil & gas industry in the North-east, but also to expand upon the expertise and innovation that already exists here, to the benefit of the wider energy sector and related industries. The Statement of Intent looks at four key policy areas – housing, connectivity, innovation and internationalisation. The collaboration of the public and private sectors has underpinned, and will continue to underpin, the development of the bid. The challenges facing the oil & gas industry have been well documented and businesses have been exploring many ways to reduce their costs. Many recognise that the City Region Deal will help them to maintain their competitiveness, supporting jobs and promoting innovation. The benefits of a successful Aberdeen City Region are felt far beyond the North-east of Scotland – oil & gas is a global business with skills and expertise exported across the world from research and development, technology and innovation. Many oil & gas companies based in Aberdeen are firmly embedded in key positions of influence in the global energy sector. The expertise developed in the North Sea by subsea engineering contractors has allowed the UK to hold around 40% of the global market worth an estimated £20billion. The oil & gas industry supports thousands of jobs across the UK through supply chains, and contributes significantly to HM Treasury. In 2011/12, the oil & gas industry was responsible for 16.4% of all corporation tax collected in the UK. The importance of the continued success and prosperity of the Aberdeen City Region cannot be underestimated to Scotland and the whole of the UK. By even greater collaboration across industry and all layers of government, we can protect the competiveness of the oil & gas industry already firmly established here and help to power tomorrow’s world.