City Council Leader Councillor Jenny Laing has highlighted the key role business can play in shaping the Aberdeen City Region Deal.
Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council are drawing up proposals for the most ambitious investment programme ever developed for the North-east, which could inject almost £3bn into infrastructure improvements over the next 20 years.
The Deal focuses on – infrastructure delivery, particularly transport connectivity, both internationally and regionally; employment infrastructure; digital connectivity; Aberdeen Harbour development; and housing.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced in his March budget speech that discussions were formally opening on the Deal. Finalised plans will be put to the UK and Scottish Governments in due course – and Councillor Laing has called on business and industry leaders to play a full part in finalising the proposals.
Speaking at the Oil & Gas UK annual general meeting in Aberdeen, she said: “My job as a city leader is to help maximise investment and I am pleased to say that discussions with all levels of Government are progressing. You as businesses, entrepreneurs and innovators are ideally placed to shape and hone the proposals that we will put to Government over the coming months.
“Both Governments have highlighted to us the importance of ‘transformational partnerships’ to maximise a Deal. We value your experience, your insight and your innovation. Everything you tell us will help shape what we ask for from both levels of Government.”
Councillor Laing told the meeting: “What we do here will have lasting significance not only for the City Region but UK plc for decades to come. The industry is moving into a different phase but, managed well, we can use our expertise to continue to generate significant revenues for our country and for the economic wellbeing of our population.
“Aberdeen is a unique place – both a regional capital and a major hub for a global industry. This gives us an opportunity to seize the moment and to plan, to invest and to innovate for the future. We have to help leverage the unique network of international relationships to anchor the industry to this city region for the benefit of all concerned.”