THE Borderlands Partnership has described the £345m deal from the UK and Scottish governments as a “game-changer”.
The UK is putting in £260m and the Scottish government £85m.
While the UK government has earned praise from Tory MPs and MSPs, Labour and the SNP’s MSPs in South Scotland claim this area is being “short-changed”.
The partnership brings together Carlisle City, Cumbria County, Dumfries and Galloway, Northumberland County and Scottish Borders councils.
A spokesperson said: “Now we know how much we’re getting, we can plan the detail to deliver projects, all designed to boost productivity and achieve inclusive growth.”
The Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal has six key programmes: digital; Borderlands energy investment company; Destination Borderlands; quality of place; knowledge exchange network; and business infrastructure programme.
There are four place-based projects: the redevelopment of Chapelcross, Annan; Mountain Bike Innovation Centre; Berwick Theatre and Conference Centre, Carlisle Station Gateway and the Borders Railway extension.
John Lamont, Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk MP, said: “The funding represents a significant investment and the most obvious example of the benefits of the UK to the Borderlands.
“Every pound spent in this growth deal helps the entire region.
“Liddesdale’s future is closely linked to Carlisle and businesses and residents will benefit from investment in broadband and transport.”
Rachael Hamilton, Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP, said: “This shows what can be achieved when both of Scotland’s governments work together.
“14 million people live within a two-hour drive of the Borderlands.
“To tap into this we need better cross-border connectivity and collaboration.”
David Mundell, Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale MP, said: “I’m very proud to have delivered the Borderlands deal from the heart of the UK government.
“It is an ambitious approach to cross-border working between the governments, local authorities and partners.
“I’m confident that we can create jobs and bring investment.”
Oliver Mundell, Dumfriesshire MSP, said: “Borderlands is the economic boost our area has been crying out for.
“Importantly, it recognises the day-to-day cross-border reality for many families and businesses and the economic reality that what happens in Carlisle matters to people living in Dumfriesshire.”
Colin Smyth, South Scotland Labour MSP and shadow cabinet secretary for infrastructure, connectivity and transport, feared the funding could leave the area short-changed.
He said the Scottish government planned to allocate only £85m over 10 years and the UK government £265m.
This fell short of the £400m the councils requested to deliver the planned projects and would total £324 a person.
Other parts of Scotland with similar deals had been allocated between £436 and £800 a person.
Mr Smyth said: “It’s disappointing that it won’t be possible to deliver all the projects in the planned timescale.
“The funding is spread over 10 years among five councils so it won’t tackle all the significant economic challenges we face and it comes at a time when councils have to cut their own budgets.”
Joan McAlpine, South Scotland SNP MSP said: “The Scottish government’s £85m investment puts the UK government’s contribution to shame because it’s far more than they’re pledging for the Scottish side of the border.
“David Mundell boasts about the UK government’s investment without telling us that only £65m of that is for north of the border.
“We’re getting only a fifth of what they’re giving to the English side.
“It’s ironic that, having talked up Borderlands for years, Mr Mundell has not persuaded his government to even match the level of funding on offer from the Scottish government.
“The £85m pledge comes on top of a dedicated new enterprise agency and a major new tourism campaign #SeeSouthScotland.”