Scotland's Agenda for Cities

Scotland's Agenda for Cities sets out the Scottish Government’s strategic framework for its future interaction with Scotland’s cities.

Section 2 - Boosting Investment

For our cities to play their full part in delivering Scotland's economic ambitions, they must provide an environment in which business investment and job creation can flourish.

Our focus will be to:

  • keep driving forward investment and innovative funding approaches
  • ensure our cities can access the best digital infrastructure, and citizens and businesses are well equipped to maximise its benefit
  • ensure that investment delivers sustainable and resilient solutions for the long term

2.1 Driving forward investment and innovative funding approaches

Boosting investment has been the main focus of our cities work to date.

Already we have made sure that our cities' needs are explicitly included in strategic documents including Scotland's Economic Strategy, the National Planning Framework, the Infrastructure Investment Plan and the National Transport Strategy (2016).

"The Scottish Government takes a strategic approach to cities and their regions and recognises these are the engines of our economy. Scotland's cities are diverse and full of potential. They are central to Scotland's economic strategy and, as most of our people live in our cities and surrounding areas, they are the target of much of our social infrastructure investment."

Infrastructure Investment Plan 2015

We have developed the new Growth Accelerator ( GA) model, a novel funding approach which builds on our experience of Tax Incremental Financing. It provides cities and regions with a means to invest in the enabling infrastructure to unlock private sector investment.  The first GA project, for the St James Quarter in Edinburgh, will provide up to £60 million of public sector investment which in turn will unlock around £1 billion of new retail, leisure, hotel and residential development in the city centre.  The second GA, in Dundee, will provide up to £63.8 million for a range of Central Waterfront investments including the station concourse, civic spaces, development of the V&A, world class digital infrastructure and Grade A office space to support economic growth and increase tourism in the area.

In addition we have secured a commitment from Abellio, the current Scotrail franchise operator, to transform the quality of inter-city rail services. They will introduce a fully refurbished fleet of high-speed trains by December 2018 to connect the seven cities. We convened a Cross Border Connectivity conference in Newcastle in February 2016 and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Transport for the North, which will give the Scottish Government input into the Northern Transport Strategy, part of the UK Government's approach to re-balancing the UK economy.

Building on this we will continue to:

  • explicitly consider the needs of our cities and their regions in our strategic thinking, providing opportunities to include city representatives in discussing and testing policy propositions in city contexts
  • explore the potential of GA and other innovative funding approaches to support the delivery of suitable infrastructure opportunities in our cities
  • use the opportunities afforded by the Memorandum of Understanding with Transport for the North to improve cross-border connectivity

2.2 Ensuring that our cities can access the best digital infrastructure and that their citizens and businesses are well equipped to maximise its benefit

Already we have:

  • invested over £410 million, alongside our partners, in the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme, which is extending fibre broadband access across our city regions
  • supported Scottish cities to secure over £17.5 million from the UK Government's Urban Broadband Fund
  • helped accelerate the rollout of Wi-Fi on trains, prioritising routes between cities
  • created a comprehensive map of mobile and fixed infrastructure across Scotland, which will make it easier for the cities to identify their digital infrastructure priorities

Building on this we will continue to support cities to work with the market, to secure cost effective digital infrastructure that meets the needs of their businesses and citizens. This will include work on individual City Region Deals, to determine whether collaboration across the region could offer enhanced benefits. It will also include our World Class Digital Infrastructure programme, which is being developed in partnership with Scottish Futures Trust. We will also work with cities to help them develop a digitally literate and digitally included population.

2.3 Working with our cities to ensure that investment delivers sustainable and resilient solutions for the long-term

We know that our cities are keen to develop and apply:

  • sustainable approaches to delivering affordable housing
  • a low carbon and renewable energy portfolio and reduce their energy demand
  • approaches to sustainable waste management
  • smart technology to all appropriate infrastructure investment

Already we have delivered 30,000 new affordable homes across Scotland and we have committed to delivering a further 50,000 in the five years from May 2016. Many of these will be built in Scotland's city regions where there is already good infrastructure and access to job opportunities. Our approach will be strengthened by the Alliance's participation in the EU's Housing Urban Partnership, which concentrates on the supply of affordable housing.

We have worked with Aberdeen and the other Scottish cities to accelerate the rollout of hydrogen-fuelled vehicles. Ten hydrogen-powered buses - Europe's largest fleet - now run on two routes within the city. We will continue to explore the potential for the roll-out of this technology to other Scottish cities.

In addition, the Alliance has commissioned work to identify economically-advantageous low carbon opportunities to improve city resilience. Through the EU-funded STEP-UP Programme, the Alliance has secured support for cities to enhance their Strategic Energy Action Plans and benefit from knowledge exchange and best practice in the development of innovative energy projects.

Building on this we will make best use of the Alliance's engagement with the EU Urban Partnership on Housing.

We will continue our work through the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme ( LCITP) to accelerate the development of investment grade business cases for substantive private, public and community low carbon projects across Scotland. [3]

We will also:

  • develop a pipeline of work focusing on large-scale urban opportunities for energy efficiency retrofit, street lighting upgrades and low carbon heat
  • promote the sharing of lessons learned and facilitate access to several low carbon knowledge networks that exist, in a bid to attract funding from EU and other sources

Glasgow Infographic


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