Last week I sat down with representatives from our four partners to put pen to paper on the Aberdeen City Region deal.
The signing ceremony put the final seal on a process which will bring £250million of investment from the UK Government and Scottish Government and serve as the catalyst for a programme which we estimate will be worth £826m when related local authority and private investment is taken into account.
It was a hugely significant moment for the city – one of many we have witnessed in recent weeks, particularly following on the back of Aberdeen City Council’s successful £370m bond issue.
The signing, which understandably was the subject of a great deal of media attention, represented an important milestone but everyone appreciates the completion of the document is just the start.
What matters to individuals and businesses is what happens next.
It is vital that the Aberdeen City Region Deal programme is visible and is delivering on the ground through the projects we have highlighted. Already the Oil & Gas Technology Centre, which will help anchor this area as a global energy hub, has started its work and the first tranche of funding from the deal has been provided to enable this exciting initiative to gather momentum.
There will be further investment in research and development in sectors outside of oil and gas as well as in infrastructure, digital connectivity and the proposed Aberdeen Harbour development.
All of these elements play a part in a much bigger transformation being driven by Aberdeen City Council through our City Centre Masterplan and Strategic Infrastructure Plan. In turn these are integral to the Regional Economic Strategy.
As I said during last week’s launch, this is not change for the sake of change. The goal is to improve outcomes and opportunities for businesses in all sectors and individuals in every one of our communities by investing in a £1billion capital programme.
With the bond issue and the completion of the City Region Deal, in November alone more than £600m of funding for vital projects has been secured. These are significant numbers and underline the scale of the ambition.
It is vital for everyone who lives and works in Aberdeen to understand the great strides being made – and for those looking in from the outside to sit up and take notice of the determination to push this city forward.