The first meeting of a committee established to govern the Aberdeen City Region Deal was held on Wednesday 24 February.
Members of Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council and Opportunity North East (ONE) came together in the Town House to discuss the next steps of the historic £250million City Region Deal, which will be jointly funded by the UK and Scottish governments on a 50/ 50 basis.
At the meeting, Aberdeen City Council Leader Councillor Jenny Laing was appointed chair of the committee, with Aberdeenshire Council’s Co-Leader Councillor Martin Kitts-Hayes agreed as vice-chair until May 2017.
The committee also includes Aberdeen City Council’s Councillor Willie Young and Councillor Ross Thomson, Aberdeenshire’s Councillor Jim Gifford and Councillor Richard Thomson, and Sir Ian Wood, Stephen Logan and Patrick Machray representing ONE.
The Heads of Terms of the deal were agreed on 28 January, paving the way for investment in innovation, internationalisation, digital connectivity, and infrastructure across the region.
The team behind the negotiation of the deal is now working on the detail of projects designed to create a better economic and social environment for the north east and benefit the nation as a whole.
The final agreement of the details of the deal are expected to be signed by the end of March.
Proposals include plans to consolidate the region’s position in the international oil and gas industry. A new Oil & Gas Technology Centre will support Aberdeen in making the transition from an operations base to a global centre for technology. This will in turn help anchor the oil and gas supply chain as a major success story for the Scottish and UK economies now and in the years to come.
Under the terms of the deal, the region will also build on existing strengths in biopharmaceuticals, agriculture and food and drink.
The deal further focusses on digital connectivity, and supporting the Nigg Harbour expansion.
Leader of Aberdeen City Council Jenny Laing said
This marks another milestone in the future of the north east region.
By cementing the partnership with both Aberdeenshire Council and ONE, we have the opportunity to deliver on key infrastructural projects which will bolster the economic future of the area.
It is now our responsibility to drive forward a major programme of works which will enhance the cultural vitality of the area and continue to encourage commercial interest.
Co-Leader of Aberdeenshire Council Martin Kitts-Hayes said
The establishment of this committee will ensure we maximise the potential of this historic deal efficiently and effectively.
Bringing together both councils and Opportunity North East, representing the private sector, on a regular basis will allow us to manage and progress these innovative projects effectually, to the benefit of the region.
Sir Ian Wood, Chairman of ONE, said
The funding commitments to the City Region Deal from the Scottish and UK governments have given us a new beginning and we are now focussed on progressing innovation projects of scale and impact in the short to medium term that will strengthen and broaden the region’s economy in the medium to long term. ONE, on behalf of the region’s business community, looks forward to working with its partners in Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils on maximising the City Region Deal opportunity for the prosperity of our region.
In addition to the £250million deal, the Scottish Government also announced further funding of £254million targeted towards the delivery of improved transport and digital connectivity and local housing programmes.
You can read more about the Aberdeen City Regional Deal on their website.