A multi-million pound investment package that will change the face of Ayrshire was rubber-stamped today (Friday 8 March) by the three Ayrshire Councils and the UK and Scottish Governments.
The £250 million Ayrshire Growth Deal was signed and sealed which will now kick-start a range of projects across the region.
The UK and Scottish Governments will both each invest just over £100m. This will be supported by South, East and North Ayrshire Councils which will be investing upwards of £45 million in total.
It is hoped the deal will create approximately 7000 jobs across a wide range of sectors. The investment will be delivered over a 15-year period.
The deal will position Ayrshire as the UK's leading hub for aerospace and space and sees approximately £80 million being invested which will support the ambition of establishing a horizontal space launch facility and visitor centre at Prestwick Airport, and a range of high quality flexible commercial business space around the airport to support the continued growth of the sectors.
The further development of Ayrshire's proud history in manufacturing and engineering will be significantly enhanced with approximately £60 million being invested to create a range of high quality business space to support our entrepreneurial businesses to start up and grow.
We also aim for Ayrshire to be the go-to region for smart manufacturing and along with approximately £12 million of investment to support our digital infrastructure and digital automation, we should be at the forefront to attract and grow technology/digital driven businesses.
Ayrshire is well placed to be a leading location to solve many of the current and future energy needs. Over £40 million is to be invested to ensure that the area is at the leading edge of energy research to find new technological solutions to energy production, storage and management.
The magnificent Ayrshire coast and islands will benefit from approximately £25 million investment to support the growth of tourism and targeted investment at key points will see the transformation of some of our destinations for the benefit of visitors and residents alike.
One of the key features of the deal is to ensure that our residents and communities can take advantage of these new opportunities as they come on stream. Over £8 million will be invested to improve the skills of Ayrshire residents with extra support for those furthest away from the labour market.
Ayrshire's three Council leaders were joined by the Secretary of State for Scotland, the Rt Hon David Mundell MP and Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson MSP, to sign the Heads of Terms on the deal.
The Ayrshire Growth Deal team – which comprises the three Ayrshire Councils and representatives from the private and public sector – has been working on developing securing this investment since 2015.
Councillor Douglas Campbell, Leader of South Ayrshire Council, welcomed the Deal being signed: "Today is the pinnacle of more than three years of incredibly hard work based around partnership, persuasion, perseverance and – most of all – potential, and it really is a proud day for Ayrshire.
"Across Ayrshire, we have always been clear that by working together to deliver investment, jobs and business growth, we can be greater than the sum of our parts and create a legacy for generations to come that will spread far beyond our Council boundaries.
"That is exactly what we have before us today – a deal that will turn our ambitions into reality and help make Ayrshire more successful, more productive, globally competitive and the best place to learn, live and work.
"I am especially overjoyed to see such a significant level of investment around Prestwick Airport. Combined with our own capital funding, this will deliver more than £100 million to ensure Ayrshire is the go-to place for the aerospace and space industries.
"Today marks a sea change for Ayrshire and the work to deliver jobs, growth and prosperity for our people and places starts now."
Councillor Joe Cullinane, Leader of North Ayrshire Council, said: "This is extremely exciting as there is huge potential here in Ayrshire. Now we have a chance to really capitalise on our strengths.
"At the very heart of the Deal, and a vision that is shared by all the partners, is inclusion. We feel that successful economies are inclusive economies and tacking inequality will help ensure that the region is primed and ready to compete in the global market.
"The vision is for Ayrshire to be a vibrant, outward looking and confident region that is an even better place to live and attractive to investors and visitors. We believe Ayrshire can make a major contribution to Scottish and UK growth."
Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council, said: "What a momentous day for Ayrshire! This is the day when our collective dreams and ambitions for Ayrshire really start to become a reality.
"Our Growth Deal journey began in August 2015 and here we are, three and a half years of hard work, commitment and determination, and skilful negotiation and collaboration on the part of many, many people.
"By putting aside political differences and geographical boundaries we have succeeded in securing funding of more than £250 million to develop an astounding set of business and investment propositions to put Ayrshire firmly back on the map.
"Throughout our journey we have received an incredible amount of support, advice and counsel from industry experts, national agencies and business leaders, but none of this would be possible without the financial assistance offered by the two governments.
"We are hugely grateful for their respective investments of £100 million and delighted by the additional boost of £6 million offered today.
"It is immensely encouraging to know that our belief in Ayrshire is shared by the two national governments!"
Infrastructure Secretary Michael Matheson said: "Today's Ayrshire Growth Deal demonstrates our commitment to supporting the region and delivering long-term benefits to the local economy.
"The Scottish Government will invest £103 million as part of a £251.5 million Growth Deal that will drive inclusive growth and benefit people across Ayrshire. Partners estimate this will leverage £300 million of additional investment from the private sector and around 7,000 jobs for the region.
"Scottish Government investment includes £18.5 million for tourism and regeneration, £14.5 million for skills, community wealth building and digital infrastructure and £40 million to develop innovative projects around engineering, manufacturing and digital automation – as well as £30 million for an Aerospace and Space Programme.
"I am delighted that we have reached today's important milestone in delivering this deal and helping Ayrshire thrive. The successful delivery of the Deal will create new jobs, protect existing ones and extend economic opportunity to communities, families and individuals throughout Ayrshire."
Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: "It's fantastic news that the UK Government is to invest more than £100 million to grow Ayrshire's economy, create jobs and boost prosperity. This investment will transform the Ayrshire economy over the coming 15 years.
"We are investing in a raft of exciting and ambitious projects right across Ayrshire. Initiatives include an aerospace development at Prestwick, a low carbon energy scheme at Hunterston, a local electricity supply project in Cumnock, a manufacturing corridor in Kilmarnock, and a digital subsea cable to dramatically improve connectivity.
"The Ayrshire Growth Deal brings UK Government investment in Growth Deals in Scotland to £1.3 billion, a huge commitment to growing Scotland's economy."
Projects within the Growth Deal include:
- £80 million investment that will position Ayrshire as one of the UK's leading centres of Aerospace and Space activity. This will include the development of an Aerospace and Space Innovation Centre (ASIC)
- £23.5 million to create the Ayrshire Manufacturing Investment Corridor (AMIC) in Bellfield, Kilmarnock.
- £16 million will go on developing the Ayrshire Engineering Park will provide expansion and development of Moorfield industrial Park in Kilmarnock
- £21 million investment into the i3 area of Irvine building on current Life Science businesses on site
- £14 million tourism investment at Irvine Harbourside and Ardeer peninsula
- £9.5 million in Marine Tourism, which will focus on securing infrastructure that supports key components such as sailing and boating, marine leisure, and recreation.
- £24.5 million in the National Energy Research Demonstrator Project (NERD)
- £18 million for the Centre for Research into Low Carbon Energy and Circular Economy (CECE) at the Hunterston Strategic West Scotland Industrial Hub.
- £10.5 million for a new International Marine Science and Environmental Centre (ISME) based at Ardrossan
- £11 million for a subsea fibre optic cable to have its landing point in Irvine.
The full Heads of Terms are available here.