The ‘heads of terms' for the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal was signed by ministers of the UK and Scottish governments and the leaders of the five councils that make up the Borderlands Partnership - Scottish Borders, Dumfries & Galloway, Northumberland, Carlisle and Cumbria. The full deal agreement is due to be signed next year. Funding of £350m is coming from the UK and Scottish governments and £44.5m from the local authorities.
The area represents 10% of the UK land mass and has a population of over a million people; 14 million people are within a two-hour drive.
Specific funding has already been confirmed for some projects, subject to full business cases, including £8m for a Dairy Innovation Centre in Dumfries and Galloway, £10m to support natural capital innovation across the Borderlands region, £19m for the Mountain Biking Innovation Centre in the Borders, £15m for Carlisle Station in Cumbria, £5m for Alnwick Garden in Northumberland and £31m to develop tourist attractions the south of Scotland. A feasibility study into the extension of the Borders Railway from Carlisle to Tweedbank will also be funded by both governments to the tune of £10m.
Minister for the Northern Powerhouse Jake Berry said: “This once-in-a-generation deal will deliver unprecedented investment in the Borderlands region while strengthening our cross-border links. We have moved closer to finalising a deal which will deliver over 5,500 jobs, dramatically improve transport and digital connectivity, boost tourism and generate around £1.1 billion of economic benefits for the region.
“With the combined strength of the UK, Scottish and local governments, let’s use this Borderlands Deal to realise a new era of regeneration, inclusive growth and limitless economic opportunities for the Borderlands and the whole of the Northern Powerhouse.”
Councillor Shona Haslam, leader of Scottish Borders Council, said: “For the Scottish Borders, the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal delivers - £19million for the Mountain Biking Innovation Centre and £10million to examine the feasibility of extending the Borders Railway. These are important, exciting projects which we very much welcome the investment in. However, beyond these headline projects there is potentially much more that the Scottish Borders will benefit from, right across the area, thanks to the work of all the partners.”
Councillor Peter Jackson, leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “The signing of the agreement today is a vital step towards the next stage of the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, enabling the partnership to finalise the business cases for the agreed projects and programmes and to access the funding to take these forward.”