Business leaders in the north-east must “keep their foot on the gas” it has been claimed, as new figures show investment in the north-east is on the rise.
Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce has conducted a piece of work which shows £10.1 billion of public and private investment is due to be delivered to benefit the north-east before 2030.
The Investment Tracker, produced in partnership with EY, shows committed future investment in the region has risen by £1.7bn over the past 12 months.
Business leaders were invited to attend a launch for the findings at Marischal Square Two yesterday, which also show £800 million worth of projects have been completed since last year’s tracker was published, including the Music Hall, Banchory Sports Village and the events complex P&J live.
Speaking to the Evening Express after the event, Chamber chief executive Russell Borthwick said it feels like a “lot has happened in a very short period of time”.
He added: “We’ve seen £2.5 billion of projects delivered already, things like the AWPR, P&J Live, the Music Hall, the Art Gallery opening soon and many other projects which are actually making the lives of people here better today.
“I guess the job we’ve got now is to pause and pat ourselves on the back for a good job well done but actually we’ve got to keep our foot on the gas, we’ve got to keep the momentum going and look at what the next set of projects we need to deliver are.”
In terms of challenges facing the region, Mr Borthwick claims the north-east has to look at how it reacts to the climate emergency and believes there is also “more to do” on improving transport connectivity.
He said: “There’s significant progress being made here on how does Europe’s oil and gas capital take the knowledge, expertise and innovation that exists here and play a serious role in driving the global energy transition.
“There’s more to do on transport – I think the AWPR is transforming traffic flow across the city but we do need to improve rail connectivity to the Central Belt.
“It’s an absolute key priority and a number of other projects in terms of how we move people around the city and region.
“How do we make sure the road connectivity north of Ellon matches the connectivity we see between Ellon and Stonehaven.”
Much of the investment included within the tracker is scheduled for the next three years and includes significant projects such as the construction of the Aberdeen South harbour, costing £350m, and the Kincardine Offshore Wind Farm at a cost of £500m.
Aberdeen City Council co-leader Jenny Laing told guests the local authority has had to look at “innovative ways” to deliver the infrastructure it needs, including being the first council to float on the London Stock Exchange. She pointed to the successful delivery of projects such as the new P&J Live, claiming the region has already seen its impact in a “short space of time”, along with the delivery of council homes and investment in educational facilities.
Ms Laing said the report’s finding “clearly shows” the commitment there is across the public and private sector to make sure investment is being made into the infrastructure of the region to help maintain the “economic buoyancy” the city has enjoyed over the last four decades.
She added: “As co-leader of the council, I know we have a very ambitious capital programme, £500m already delivered and another £500m in the pipeline.
“But it’s not until you see the investment collectively in one document that you get an idea of the scale of investment going into Aberdeen.
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“Despite the downturn and challenges we have had, the public and private sector still believe we need to invest in the city, encourage new businesses in and make sure we’re anchoring our young people here, and we want to work collaboratively with others to provide that going forward.”
Derek Leith, EY global oil and gas tax lead and Aberdeen senior partner, said the report demonstrates a “resilient and vibrant” economy in the north-east.
He added: “While the region was recovering from one of the worst downturns in the oil and gas sector, innovation and local leadership stepped up.
“As a result we are at an exciting time, with many innovative projects that will see Aberdeen become a centre of excellence in food, life sciences, and, of course, reassert our position as a world leader in the energy sector.”