South Scotland Labour MSP and Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Connectivity and Transport Colin Smyth has welcomed the long awaited signing of the Heads of Terms agreement for the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, but warned that the deal would not be a panacea for the region’s economic challenges.

The local MSP was commenting as Council Leaders from the five local authorities in the borderlands were joined by Scottish and UK Government representatives and local MSPs for the signing at the Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland at Glentress today.

Colin Smyth said, “Having been involved in the Borderlands since the beginning, I’m pleased to see this deal finally agreed as it has been a long time coming. The five local councils deserve enormous praise for developing the projects and getting to this stage, given that many people predicted it would be impossible to bring councils from across the border together in this way. Everyone now needs to get on with delivering the projects. This will not be a panacea for the regions’ massive economic challenges. It works out at around £15m a year over ten years for the whole of the south of Scotland which is quite modest. However, it will bring some badly needed investment into projects that could make a real difference to the local economy.”

The Borderlands Initiative brings together the five cross-border local authorities in South Scotland and the North of England to promote economic growth and competitiveness of the area that straddles the Scotland-England border. The initiative was established following a report in 2013 entitled, ‘Borderlands: can the North East and Cumbria benefit from greater Scottish Autonomy?’ The Councils have developed a series of projects as part of a Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal for consideration for funding by the Scottish and UK Governments.

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