Business group’s city deal warning

Midlothian Council leader Derek Milligan signing the city deal last July.
Midlothian Council leader Derek Milligan signing the city deal last July.

The Federation of Small Businesses has warned that the Edinburgh City Region Deal must deliver for surrounding areas as well as the capital.

This follow the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee’s report on Scotland’s City Region Deals released on Monday, which highlighted the need for greater transparency on why projects are or are not included in the deal.

Commenting on the implications for the Edinburgh City Region Deal, Garry Clark, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Development manager for the East of Scotland, said: “We welcome this report, which recognises the significant investment, but also notes the concerns we have raised on behalf of local small businesses that the deal must not only deliver for businesses in the capital but also in the likes of Bathgate, Loanhead and Melrose.

“More than nine out of 10 businesses in the City Region are small businesses and these provide over a third of all jobs in the area. The Scottish Parliament is right to call for more scrutiny to ensure that all of these businesses benefit from economic investment, no matter where they are based in the region.”

A Midlothian Council spokesman said: “The City Deal is a major package of new investment for the whole of South East Scotland, including all of Midlothian. That new investment in industrial and employment growth, skills and training, transport and digital infrastructure, and affordable housing is intended to benefit all parts of the region, particularly its more disadvantaged communities.

“With its prime location within the region, Midlothian can expect to see benefits to its residents and economy not only from direct investment in the area, but also from planned projects in the city and nearby. The council is committed to ensuring that all of Midlothian’s communities receive their fair share of this investment.”