UK Government Commits to Aberdeen Deal
The UK government has announced that it will sign the Aberdeen deal that will fund innovation and diversification of northeast Scotland's oil and gas industry.
It will lead to up to £250mn being injected into a fund to benefit northeast Scotland. The deal will be funded in equal parts by the UK and Scottish governments.
Scottish Secretary David Mundell will sign the deal on behalf of the UK government January 28. He said it would help to support the suffering Scottish oil and gas industry.
"Oil and gas is a crucial sector, not just for the northeast of Scotland but for the whole of the UK," he said. "I know it’s a very tough time for people who work in the industry and their families, and I am determined that the UK government will do what it can to support them.
"We need action which will help in the short, medium and long terms – building a bridge to the future of the North Sea; helping the UK’s oil and gas industry to export its world-class expertise around the globe; and encouraging diversification of the economy to create new opportunities in other sectors too. This UK City Deal will help deliver that and demonstrates our commitment to this very important part of Britain’s economy."
Under the terms of the deal, the UK and Scottish governments as well as local Scottish authorities will consider a number of measures to improve matters in the Scottish oil and gas industry. These include creating a new energy innovation centre, supporting the industry to exploit remaining North Sea reserves, and expanding Aberdeen harbour, enabling the city to compete for decommissioning work.
The deal will also focus on diversification of the local economy, with the press release specifically mentioning the biopharmaceutical and agri-food industries,as well as the improvement of digital connectivity across the region.
"Given the current situation in Aberdeen, with significant private sector job losses announced in recent weeks by the oil and gas industry, it is vital that government sends a strong and unequivocal signal that it is fully supportive of the region’s position as a global oil and gas hub," Sturgeon said at that time.
Later today, the UK prime minister David Cameron will also visit Aberdeen to discuss issues facing the oil and gas industry in Scotland. During his visit, he will also announce "further UK government measures to safeguard oil and gas sector jobs, on top of the financial boost the UK City Deal will bring," the press release says.