Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald has welcomed the final approval from the Scottish Government and the Scottish Futures Trust for plans to unlock hundreds of millions of pounds of private investment to boost business across Falkirk and Grangemouth.
Falkirk Council’s £67 million Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) scheme is expected to lever in £413 million in private investment creating almost 6,000 jobs and hundreds of apprenticeships.
Under TIF, Falkirk Council will fund infrastructure by borrowing against future business rate income that should be generated by the resulting regeneration and development.
The 25-year plan, over three phases across Falkirk and Grangemouth, includes improving M9 motorway links to established industrial areas and unlocking 400,000 square metres of business space.
Within the bid funding is earmarked to contribute to major flood defences to protect the port and refinery at Grangemouth.
The Scottish Futures Trust, set up by the Scottish Government to deliver value for money across public sector infrastructure, has spearheaded the development of the TIF model for use in Scotland.
Commenting on the completion of the TIF deal with the Scottish Government, Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald said:
“I am delighted that the Falkirk TIF project has been approved. Officers at the Scottish Government, Falkirk Council and the Scottish Futures Trust have worked extremely hard over the past couple of years to bring this project to fruition.
“The prospects for Falkirk district are extremely exciting, with anticipated investment in the area of over £400 million, bringing up to 6,000 jobs over the next 25 years.
“The majority of the projects which will benefit from approval of the TIF are in my Falkirk East constituency including improvements to the Avon Gorge A801; improvements at Westfield roundabout/A904; Grangemouth flood defences and developments around the M9 corridor, including a major upgrade of Junction 6, which are all long overdue.
“I have regularly raised the proposal with the Finance Secretary John Swinney, and former Infrastructure and Capital Investment Secretary Alex Neil, Depute First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Chief Executive of the Scottish Futures Trust Barry White, and have promoted the pilot at the Economy, Energy & Tourism Committee in the Scottish Parliament, so I’m delighted that all the lobbying has finally paid off.
“TIF will bring massive capital investment to the area and restore economic growth at a time when we need a major boost to the local economy and significant job creation.
“The Scottish Government already recognises the importance of Grangemouth and the wider Falkirk district to the national economy, generating over £3 billion annually, which has clearly had a bearing on the final decision”.
“This is good news for everyone in Falkirk district and beyond, and I look forward to the first infrastructure work getting underway at Junction 6, hopefully as early as this autumn”.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“We will use every lever at our disposal, within our devolved powers, to boost capital spending and through innovative financing schemes such as TIF, support jobs, apprenticeships and help the Scottish economy.
“The Falkirk TIF will allow dozens of major construction developments across the area to unlock significant economic development and regeneration.
“It will allow Falkirk and Grangemouth to maintain and grow a number of industries and sectors that are important nationally such as petrochemicals, manufacturing and port activity against the backdrop of highly competitive global industries.
“Scotland needs independence so the Scottish Parliament can have full control over taxation, borrowing and spending to determine investment priorities according to the needs of the Scottish economy and public services, to promote growth, employment and opportunities for all to flourish.”
Councillor Craig Martin, leader of Falkirk Council said:
“This investment signals a new chapter for Falkirk as it gears up to play a significant role in Scotland’s economic growth, export trade and jobs creation. Key infrastructure development will unlock more opportunities in our key sectors of chemicals, manufacturing and logistics, ensuring these high value, job-creating industries can thrive to benefit the whole of Scotland.”
Stuart Wallace, Divisional Director of Forth Ports Limited said:
“This is good news for the area. The planned investment, in particular, the road improvements will be of great benefit to businesses in the local area, to Scottish business as a whole and to local people.
“The Falkirk and Grangemouth areas are very much at the centre of Scotland’s economy with the Port of Grangemouth providing the main access point for goods entering and leaving Scotland.”
Chemical Sciences Scotland chairman, Sandy Dobbie, said:
“This is great news and very much welcomed by the chemical sciences sector, Scotland’s second biggest export sector after food and drink. Around one third of the 8,300 manufacturing jobs in the Falkirk area are based in the chemical sciences sector.
“Individual businesses, Forth Ports, Falkirk Council, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Government have all been working together to develop Grangemouth, in particular, as a key national asset and growth hub for Scotland’s chemical sciences sector.
“Collectively we have ambitious plans to encourage more co-location opportunities, increase investment in research and development activity and attract greater inward investment opportunities to Grangemouth. The announcement of a successful TIF bid will undoubtedly help us all to achieve these ambitions.”
Barry White, chief executive of the Scottish Futures Trust, said:
“SFT continues to lead the way with the development of TIF across Scotland as an innovative way to unlock future economic growth, as every £1 invested by the public sector has the potential to attract a further £6 from the private sector.
“We have worked closely with Falkirk Council on finalising this agreement since recommending approval of its TIF Business Case and very much look forward to the positive impact that the investment will make to this region and adjacent areas.”