A new £395m growth deal for the Scottish Borders and wider Borderlands region has been signed today.
Representatives from the UK Government, the Scottish Government and five councils that represent the region were in Peebles today to sign the Heads of Terms for investment.
The deal is seeking to attract tourists to the area, boost business and it is expected to create more than 5,500 jobs.
The UK Government has been rolling out Growth Deals across the UK since 2014. Before Borderlands, more than £1.3bn had been invested in Scotland by the UK Government as part of these deals.
A full cross border feasibility study in to bringing the Borders Railway to Hawick, Newcastleton and on to Carlisle forms part of the deal, backed up by £10m of funding.
£16.2m is to be invested in digital connectivity, which will aim to improve broadband speeds and drive economic activity. This tranche of funding was provided solely by the UK Government.
A £19m Mountain Bike Innovation Centre in the Tweed Valley will establish a world-class destination for research, development and tourism around mountain biking.
Transport agencies either side of the Border will work on a cross-border study for the A1 corridor as well as exploring an integrated transport system.
The package of investment will also include Borderlands wide projects including broadband and mobile signal investment designed to bring the region up to UK wide levels of connectivity, a Borderlands Energy Investment Company to generate cheaper energy for the region and help the Borderlands become the first carbon neutral region in the UK.
John Lamont MP said: “This is fantastic news for the Borders – this deal is packed full of projects which will boost the Borders economy.
“For too long, the Border at Berwick has been viewed as this line which prevents collaboration. It is great to see this deal ignoring this Border and looking at how the whole region can be better served and the economy better supported.
“Every penny of this £395m investment is set to benefit the whole Borderlands region by bringing in thousands of jobs, millions more visitors and improving connectivity.
“I am particularly pleased that the Borders Railway extension will receive this £10m boost for a full study into how we can bring the line to Hawick, Newcastleton and on to Carlisle.
“Less tangible but equally important is the investment in broadband, tourism, business and energy which the whole of the Borders is set to benefit from.”