This week 26/10/18
The Scottish Government is prepared to invest £200 million to deliver inclusive economic growth across the Tay Cities region– and it has asked the UK Government to match its pledge. Announcing the commitment ahead of the UK Government Budget next week, Mr Matheson said: “Scotland’s cities and their regions are the engines of our economy. That is why I can confirm that the Scottish Government has agreed to invest £200 million in the Tay Cities Region, to deliver significant long-term economic benefits. A Tay Cities Region Deal of this scale has the power to build on the area’s significant strengths and expertise. I expect City Region Deals to be funded on a 50:50 basis and I call on the UK Government to match our commitment and make this a £400 million deal.”
An £18 million fund to help businesses benefit from developments in manufacturing is among the key actions announced in a new plan to help boost economic growth. Economy and Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said: “Scotland has huge economic potential and we are well placed to take advantage of the economic opportunities that come from our established strengths in innovation and technological change. The Scottish Government’s Economic Strategy sets out our vision for sustainable and inclusive growth. Growth that boosts competitiveness while tackling inequalities and delivers for our communities, for the environment, and for workers and business.”
Scotland’s economy has continued to strengthen in the first half of 2018 with annual GDP growth the strongest since 2014 and above the UK as a whole. Independent growth forecasts suggest growth could strengthen further over the next couple of years, however, uncertainty relating to the form and timing of agreement for leaving the EU remains a key concern for many sectors of the economy. Economy Secretary, Derek Mackay said: “Following the very positive GDP data published last month, showing Scottish GDP growing and outpaced growth in the UK as a whole, I welcome this latest State of the Economy report which provides a broader analysis of Scottish economic performance. With Scotland’s economy continuing to grow throughout the year, it’s good to see the improving outlook for the oil and gas sector coming to fruition alongside the continued strong performance in our labour market. Scotland’s economy is strong and we are one of the top destinations for inward investment, whilst Scottish productivity has grown faster than the UK’s over the past decade.”
Hotels across Scotland and offices in Aberdeen are amongst those who will benefit from a cap to their business rates. Having already benefited from the cap in 2017-18 and 2018-19, hospitality businesses will now see rates capped at a maximum of 12.5% in real terms each year until 1st April 2022. Public Finance Minister Kate Forbes announced the deal saying: “In order to continue supporting Scotland’s wider economy, we must first ensure that local businesses, who play a valuable role in generating economic growth, receive the correct and necessary support in order to maintain business performance. A promising benchmark has been established as we move towards achieving a more secure, sustainable future for Scotland’s hospitality sector, and the Scottish Government has again shown a willingness to listen to the business community as we implement our ambitious non-domestic rates reforms.”
The first winners of the £2 million Smarter Choices Smarter Places Open Fund have been announced by Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson. The Open Fund provides match funding grants between £5,000 and £50,000 to public, third and community sector organisations that seek to transform people’s everyday travel behaviour to more sustainable modes of transport. The scheme opened in June 2018 and so far 11 winners having been awarded a total of £210k across rural, urban and island locations.