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UK and Scottish governments announce £500m investment in Aberdeen

Out-Law News | 29 Jan 2016 | 4:17 pm | 1 min. read

Plans to set up a new energy innovation centre in Aberdeen and to enhance road and rail links into the city from Scotland's central belt have been announced.

The initiatives were unveiled as the UK and Scottish governments separately pledged funds totalling more than £500 million to support businesses in the north-east of Scotland, including in the oil and gas industry.

Under the £250m 'City Deal' proposals outlined by the UK government, Aberdeen harbour is to be expanded to help "the city to compete for decommissioning work". The UK government said it also wants to support the development of the biopharmaceutical and agri-food industries in Aberdeen so as to deliver diversity to the city's economy.

A new ministerial working group on oil and gas has also been established by the UK government. The group will immediately focus on identifying "steps the government will take to support those who may lose their jobs in the oil and gas sector, and set out how government and industry can help these skilled workers move into other sectors, including other energy related infrastructure projects", the UK government said.

UK communities secretary Greg Clark said: "This package of support will help prepare the oil and gas industries for the future, given their crucial importance both to north-east Scotland and the country as a whole. But with plans including the expansion of the city’s harbour, greater digital connectivity and support for growing pharmaceutical and agri-food industries, it will also help other businesses locate to the area and offer job opportunities for years to come."

The majority of £254m funding announced by the Scottish government is directed at improving rail and road infrastructure. It said £200m would go towards increasing the capacity and shortening journey times "on key rail links between Aberdeen and the Central Belt", while £24m will be directed towards supporting "improvements to the key A90/A937 south junction at Laurencekirk".

Cabinet secretary for infrastructure, investment and cities in the Scottish government Keith Brown said: "The £224 million investment in the transport infrastructure will support improvements to the trunk road and strategic rail networks, including infrastructure improvements, double tracking at key pinch points, and other opportunities to improve journey times to the central belt and on to London, increasing capacity for passenger and freight services, supporting jobs and growth and providing an economic boost to the cities and communities of the north east."