Ten projects in Scotland are to share almost £180m of UK Government ‘levelling up’ funding.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he wanted to “build a future of optimism and pride in people’s lives”.
The projects sharing £177m in Scotland are:
- £27m for a new ferry between Shetland and the Fair Isle
- £20m to help turn Arbuthnot House in Aberdeenshire into a museum and library as well as modernising Macduff Aquarium
- Refurbishment of the Palace Theatre in Kilmarnock, costing £20m
- Re-routing of the A78 dual-carriageway to improve Greenock – £20m
- Regeneration of Riverside Park in Fife (£19.4m) and the Forthside area of Stirling (£19m)
- £14m multi-storey car park redevelopment in Dundee
- More than £9m for regeneration work in Cumbernauld
- Nearly £11.3m to free up land at a former coal-fired power station
- Almost £18m to help Dumfries and Galloway turn redundant spaces and buildings into new cultural and leisure opportunities
‘Levelling up’ is a phrase being used by the government for its plans to invest in infrastructure across the UK.
The strategy has been criticised by the Scottish Government, which accused Westminster of undermining devolution by handing funds directly to councils.
But Sunak said: “Through greater investment in local areas, we can grow the economy, create good jobs and spread opportunity everywhere.
“That’s why we are backing a number of projects with new transformational funding to level up local communities in Scotland.
“By reaching even more parts of the country than before, we will build a future of optimism and pride in people’s lives and the places they call home.”
More than 100 projects have been announced across the UK, as the government said it was “firing the starting gun” on ‘levelling up’.
Scottish secretary Alister Jack said it was “fantastic to see real momentum gathering as we level up across Scotland”.
He said: “We must and will continue to invest in initiatives that will make a difference to communities and help grow our economy.
“So far we have announced more than £2.26bn – including the two freeports confirmed last week – to bring prosperity and growth to Scotland that is crucial as we tackle the challenges associated with rising energy prices and the increased cost of living.”
Commenting, Cllr Leeann McWhinnie of the Peterhead North and Rattray ward of Aberdeenshire Council said: “Peterhead is a fantastic town and this announcement now gives us the opportunity to showcase that to a wider audience with the introduction of the Cultural Area.”
Cllr Stephen Smith of the Peterhead South and Cruden ward added: “Arbuthnot House is part of Peterhead’s history but has been left to degrade and decay after a rationalisation of the council’s estate several years ago. I’m therefore delighted that this successful bid will mean not only an improved museum and library facility for the town, but also keeps them in the Town Centre.”
Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael welcomed the news on funding for a new Fair Isle ferry.
“After some hard graft on the part of the council and local campaigners in bidding for funding it is enormously gratifying to see Fair Isle secure this investment for its new ferry,” he said.
“Well done to the officials who put the bid together and those in the community who have kept up the pressure.
“I have been working with everyone concerned for some time and I am delighted to see their work come to fruition.”
Shetland MSP and Scottish Liberal Democrat Beatrice Wishart commented saying the funding announcement made “a good news day for the residents of Fair Isle”.
Shetland Islands Council also welcomed the funding. Council leader Emma Macdonald said: “The Good Shepherd is less than five years from the end of her life. The impact of the loss of the ferry service from mainland Shetland to Fair Isle would be deeply profound, and without a new vessel the long-term sustainability of the island would be in doubt.
“It is no exaggeration to say that this funding from the UK Government has saved Fair Isle as an inhabited island. There would have been no other way for us to sustainably fund such a project. This is a truly great day for Fair Isle, and for Shetland, and we are grateful for the honest, open and productive dialogue we have had both with the Scotland Office and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities throughout the process.”