Cumbrians are set to benefit from a multi-million-pound initiative set to drive economic growth across the region.
The Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal was signed today, bringing up to £452 million of fresh investment to the Borderlands area, with UK ministers and representatives of the Scottish Government and the five councils of the Borderlands Partnership signing the deal at a virtual ceremony.
The regional partnership is made up of Carlisle City Council, Cumbria County Council, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Northumberland County Council and Scottish Borders Council.
The projects supported by the deal will reach all parts of the Borderlands area, driving inclusive growth and delivering significant and lasting benefits for the one million people who live in the region.
The deal is focused on increasing productivity, growing the working age population, and delivering a more inclusive economy. It aims to create up to 5,500 jobs and provide a £1.1billion GVA boost to the region’s economy over 10-15 years.
Some of the projects set to be delivered include improvements in digital and mobile connectivity across the region, investments in towns, tourism and business infrastructure and the redevelopment of Carlisle Station and the surrounding area, to act as a gateway to the region. Furthermore, the Deal includes a feasibility study to assess extending the Borders Railway, and lay the foundations for new and improved infrastructure to connect rural communities. In addition, Hadrian’s Wall and the wider Roman Frontier World Heritage Site will benefit from up to £18 million investment from UK Government, subject to full business case approval, with a further £12 million from local partners.
Welcoming the news, Penrith and the Border MP, Dr Neil Hudson said:
“I was delighted to see the Borderlands Growth Deal formally signed today. This will help provide a welcome boost to the Cumbrian economy as we recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
I particularly welcome that up to £10 million has been put aside for a feasibility study into extending the Borders Railway to Carlisle and £4 million of Borderlands funding will be invested continue to connect not-spot locations through a digital voucher ‘top-up’ scheme (Digital Borderlands Voucher Scheme) working alongside the national gigabit connectivity voucher programme which will help provide connections to over 2,000 premises in Cumbria and Northumberland. As part of my ‘Better Connectivity’ campaign I will continue to call for improved transport links and broadband for my constituents. In addition, it is great that funding will be allocated to support the unique visitor attraction in our area that is the amazing Hadrian’s Wall.”
UK Government’s Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, added:
“The Borderlands Growth Deal will realise a new era of regeneration and opportunity as we build back better from the pandemic.
“The Ad Gefrin Visitor Experience and Distillery, and the Carlisle Station regeneration project are just two examples of schemes already benefitting from the Deal which will create jobs and improve regional connectivity.
“We’re levelling up across the UK by investing in jobs, driving economic growth, and strengthening our cross-border links.”