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Moray Growth Deal

Volume 664: debated on Tuesday 1 October 2019

I discuss matters of importance regarding the Scottish economy with Government colleagues on a regular basis. In July, £32.5 million was allocated for the Moray growth deal.

The £32.5 million investment that the Minister has just mentioned, which was also matched by the Scottish Government, made the Moray growth deal the highest funded per head of population anywhere in the country. The next key milestone will be the signing of the heads of terms, so can he update us on the progress made towards that?

I thank my hon. Friend for his question. He has been a great champion for the growth deal, which will unlock huge benefits for the people of Moray. We hope to settle the heads of terms this month to allow this whole project to move forward quickly.

I think that we are about to hear the prodigious knowledge of the hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent (Nick Smith) on the Moray growth deal. Wonders never cease.

21. Thank you, Mr Speaker. Local growth deals like Moray’s would greatly help regional development. The shared prosperity fund would greatly help with improvements to the Ebbw Vale to Cardiff train line, so will the Minister please meet me to consider that possibility? (912470)

That was a truly ingenious question. Of course, the UK shared prosperity fund is really important. We continue to make good progress on its design. Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government officials have so far held 26 engagement events across the UK with over 500 representatives from a breadth of sectors. This is something that, obviously, has massive implications for Wales, and we are very happy to ensure that we engage everyone in that process.

The Moray growth deal, like the Clackmannanshire and Tay Cities growth deals, is bringing unprecedented investment into Scotland. Are the Minister and the Treasury considering reprofiling the investment over 10 years, as opposed to 15, as the local councils are asking me to do, so that we can get this investment and this transformational change in our communities?

I thank my hon. Friend for that question. Clearly, we want to see this investment move forward as quickly as possible. If he wants to raise that matter with us and indeed with the Secretary for Scotland, we can certainly talk about it, but I obviously cannot make any commitments here today.

On the subject of growth deals, may I ask the Minister, in addition to discussions on the Moray growth deal, what discussions has he had with Cabinet colleagues on the progress of the Mid Wales growth deal?

We are committed to bringing forward growth deals across the UK. Obviously, in the devolved Administration areas, we want to bring forward money from our side, but with effect from the Welsh and Scottish Governments as well. We want to see progress across the UK; it is not restricted to Scotland.