Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland
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Levelling up reaches new heights in Scotland

Scottish Secretary says the UK Government policy of regional investment is delivering real dividends for communities across Scotland.

The UK Government’s funding for levelling up has now reached £2.08 billion in Scotland, the equivalent of £380 for every person, with the total set to rise with millions of pounds of further investment in 2023.

Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack said:

There’s a lot of momentum building in both the pace and scale of levelling up right across Scotland. I’m not just talking about the amount of money, but real bricks and mortar, real jobs, and a real sense of excitement about what is going on. What we are seeing are the dividends of working together, listening to the ambitious ideas of local organisations, and bringing in the resources to make things happen.

The past year has racked up an impressive tally of eye-catching announcements supported by earlier rounds of investment by the UK Government, with many more in the pipeline.

Abertay University launched its cyberQuarter, which will put Dundee at the heart of the UK’s growing cybersecurity industry. While just outside the city, the James Hutton Institute cut the ribbon on the International Barley Hub, where researchers will ensure the sustainability of one the world’s most important crops. The National Robotarium opened its doors at Heriot-Watt University, and has been demonstrating how robotics and AI will transform everything from dementia care to firefighting.

In Renfrewshire, the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre joined Scotland’s Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District, and promises to revolutionise the pharmaceuticals sector.
Each of these projects will make a big difference to their respective industries, but they will also bring a wealth of new jobs and opportunities to their surrounding communities, fostering economic growth and attracting further business investment.

The UK Government has taken a partnership approach to delivering its funding. This means that local organisations and institutions lead the way in deciding what will have the biggest impact in their area. This is underpinned by close working relationships and joint investment with local authorities, universities, businesses and the Scottish Government.

This principle is taken to the most local level with the £150 million Community Ownership Fund which provides community groups with grants to take over and regenerate local assets that are at risk. There are now ten such projects across Scotland, ranging from sports pavilions and village halls to pubs and visitor centres. Multiple further rounds are expected in 2023 and groups are encouraged to submit their expressions of interest.

Scottish local authorities have already submitted their bids for the next batch of the Levelling Up Fund after more than £171m was awarded to eight projects in the first round, and local authority proposals for £212 million from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund were also given the green light earlier this month.

2023 will bring several major announcements, not least the much anticipated location of two new Green Freeports that will be backed by £52 million from the UK Government.

Details are also expected on the Glasgow Innovation Accelerator, which aims to replicate the successful Silicon Valley model by supercharging the relationship between R&D and cutting-edge industry.

The £392m Islands Growth Deal is all set to be signed in January, and there is a shared collective ambition to get the Falkirk and Argyll & Bute deals running by the end of the year as well. This would mean every part of Scotland will have a regional investment deal in delivery.

Several exciting projects are also expected to be completed, including the BioHub: a life sciences business incubator in Aberdeen, and the Usher Institute: a health and social care data research facility in Edinburgh.

UK Government investments in projects mentioned above:

  • cyberQuarter: £5.7m (Tay Cities Region Deal)
  • International Barley Hub £20m (Tay Cities Region Deal)
  • National Robotarium: £21m (Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal)
  • Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre: £28m (UKRI investment)
  • Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland: £56m (Glasgow City Region Deal and Levelling up Fund)
  • Islands Growth Deal: £50m
  • Falkirk Growth Deal: £40m
  • Argyll and Bute Rural Growth Deal: £25m
  • Biohub: £10m (Aberdeen City Region Deal)
  • Usher Institute: £48m (Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal)
  • IMPACT 30 is supported as part of the UK Government’s £11m investment in the Northern Innovation Hub (Inverness and Highland City Region Deal)

UK Government investment in levelling up in Scotland

UK Government investment in levelling up in Scotland £million
UKG City Region /Growth Deals Investment in Scotland £ 1,512
UKG Levelling Up Fund Investment in Scotland (First round) £ 172
UKG Community Ownership Fund investment in Scotland (to date) £ 2
UKG Green Freeports Investment in Scotland £ 52
UKG Community Renewal Fund in Scotland £ 19
UKG Glasgow Innovation Accelerator - TBC - Share of £100m c.£ 33
UKG Shared Prosperity Fund £ 212
UKG Strength in Places Fund £ 82
Total UKG Levelling Up investment in Scotland £ 2,084
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