Tay Cities Deal May Face Further DelayNeil Hardie
The Tay Cities Deal may be delayed until Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Autumn Statement.
The key delay appears to be around the request to the UK Treasury to reduce the deal from 15 years to 10 years.
Perth and Kinross Council leader Murray Lyle assured councillors at a full council meeting on Thursday that he and the three other council leaders involved are working together to “resolve this as quickly as possible”.
Hopes had risen the deal, which would help fund key Tayside projects such as Perth City Hall, might finally be signed off next month.
The Tay Cities Deal project is a partnership between public, private and voluntary organisations across Angus,
Dundee, Fife and Perth and Kinross through negotiation with the UK and Scottish governments.
The aim of the deals is to empower a city and its surrounding area to take charge of decisions that will affect the area and stimulate the economy.
Head of Tay Cities Deal David Littlejohn told councillors there had been a push to sign off the deal in August. However, the council’s enterprise manager, Alison Seggie, said: “I think the latest update is that now is unlikely and it may be pushed back until the Autumn Statement.
“The main sticking point is around the length of the deal from the UK Government’s side in terms of the ask of that to be reduced to 10 years from 15 years so that’s an ongoing discussion.
“And there are soon to be fairly highlevel negotiations between the Tay Cities chief execs and the leaders.
“That’s the plan over the next couple of weeks to try and look at alternative options and push this forward.
“There is still great momentum over the local partnership to get a deal over the line.”
SNP group leader Grant Laing said:
“I am really concerned to hear that it’s being pushed back to probably October.”
The council’s finance chief Stewart Mackenzie said: “To my knowledge there is no change in the nature of levels of funding being proposed.
“The discussion has been really around the cashflow, in effect, with the Scottish Government choosing to move to 10-year funding and the UK Treasury still considering whether they are going to match that in terms of funding. At the moment the offer for most UK City deals from the Treasury is 15 years.”
SNP councillor Henry Anderson aired concern there may be an increased cost to projects linked to the Tay Cities Deal and asked if there would be additional government funding to cover that.
Council chief executive Karen Reid said she was not aware of any additional funding from either government.
“At this moment in time we are looking at construction inflation costs. It’s a situation where we will be re-engineering projects to try and bring them in within the cost envelope wherever possible.”