The Leader of Argyll and Bute Council has urged the UK and Scottish Governments to progress Argyll and Bute’s rural growth deal, and so support the area’s recovery from the impact of COVID-19.
Councillor Aileen Morton has written to the Secretary of State for Scotland and to the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Islands and Connectivity, following the council’s recent agreement of an economic recovery plan for Argyll and Bute which features the £50 million+ rural growth deal (RGD).
Councillor Morton said:
“We have to look after our economic health as well as our physical health for our communities to live well.
Jobs lost, businesses at risk, regeneration on hold – an unhealthy economy drags everyone down in some way.
Our rural growth deal can and will play a key role in Argyll and Bute’s Covid-19 recovery.
Moving it ahead at pace has always been absolutely crucial for Argyll and Bute, even before the pandemic took its toll. The area faces unique challenges of a falling population and diverse geography.
The Deal is all about bringing transformational investment into the area, to turn economic opportunities into growth and a sustainable future for Argyll and Bute.
Making Argyll and Bute economically successful will also contribute to a UK-wide economic recovery.
We would urge both Governments therefore to work with us in delivering with urgency the economic support Argyll and Bute needs.”
Both the Scottish and UK Governments have committed £25 million each in support of projects, designed by the council, to deliver success across Argyll and Bute based on:
Attracting: additional skills, training and learning opportunities: new residents,
visitors and businesses;
Growing: doing more of what works; making more of our natural and built resources; and
Connecting: our high value business sectors with national and international business markets; our local economic successes with national strategic priorities.
The overarching aim of the RGD is to meet the council’s vision of economic success based on a growing population.
The next stage in the process is to agree Heads of Terms which will set out how the £50 million funding will be put to use for Argyll and Bute.
The Leader wrote to the Rt Hon Alister Jack MP, Secretary of State for Scotland and to Michael Matheson, MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Islands and Connectivity.
The Council agreed its economic recovery plan at the Business Continuity Committee on 11 June.