Council chiefs hail deal which could bring £3.2bn boost

An aerial view of Midlothian, at the viaduct at the Sun Inn near Newtongrange.
An aerial view of Midlothian, at the viaduct at the Sun Inn near Newtongrange.

Council chiefs have welcomed the news that the UK government is looking to complete a city-deal for the Lothians which could see Midlothian benefit from a huge investment.

New Chancellor Philip Hammond recommitted to the investment package in his Autumn Statement.

Edinburgh, in partnership with the three Lothian authorities, Fife and the Scottish Borders submitted a £1 billion bid to ministers in September last year in the hope it will draw in up to £3.2bn of private investment to help boost the economy.

Midlothian council leader, councillor Cath Johnstone, said: “Along with our neighbouring local authorities, we very much welcome the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s recent announcement that the UK Government will continue to work towards agreeing a City Region Deal for Edinburgh and South-East Scotland.

“Discussions with the UK and Scottish Governments will continue on this exciting initiative which is aimed at accelerating economic growth and helping tackle inequalities and deprivation in Midlothian and the wider region.”

In his speech in the Commons, Mr Hammond said: “Devolution remains at the heart of this government’s approach to supporting local growth, and we recommit today to our City Deals with Swansea, Edinburgh, North Wales and Tay Cities – and I can announce we’re beginning negotiations on a City Deal for Stirling, so that every city in Scotland will be on course to have a City Deal.”

The Chancellor had no big giveaways in his first Autumn Statement, delivered in the shadow of the Brexit vote. He told MPs the Office for Budget Responsibility was forecasting higher borrowing, slower growth and an increase in debt.

He confirmed the government was no longer aiming for a budget surplus in 2019-20.