Today the SNP Scottish Government announced that it will invest £379 million in the north-east, as part of an overall funding package worth £504 million – 75 per cent of the total package. Despite talking up the Aberdeen City Deal for months now, the UK Government has allocated just £125 million. Again, David Cameron’s government has over-promised and under-delivered.
In tough times, the additional Scottish Government funding will be used to invest in key infrastructure, including projects to improve journey times and increase capacity on key rail links southbound from Aberdeen, and support for key improvements to the A90/A937 south junction at Laurencekirk.
This is on top of the £1 billion that the Scottish Government is already investing across the region. Existing investment includes £170 million for the Aberdeen to Inverness railway line, and £745 million in the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route. And, next Monday the First Minister will be in Aberdeen for meetings with the oil and gas industry and to announce fresh Scottish Government support for the North Sea.
But what of the UK Government? David Cameron often tells us about the broad-shoulders of the UK. We’ve heard the same from other opposition politicians too. So, where were those broad-shoulders today?
Don’t get me wrong, the investment announced by the UK Government today – indeed, all investment into the region – is welcome. But, too often the UK Government takes the needs of the north-east for granted – viewing the region as nothing more than a cash-cow.
Over the years, the UK Treasury has benefitted from hundreds of billions of pounds of North Sea oil revenues, which have flowed from Aberdeen to London. It’s clear that the north-east deserves more than what’s on offer from this Tory government today.