A BILLIONAIRE businessman is to be part of the team bidding to win the North-east a City Region Deal.
Aberdeen oil tycoon Sir Ian Wood will chair a new Economic Leadership Board that would make the case for the £2.9 billion investment from government.
Sir Ian, who founded oil services firm Wood Group, will head up the board which will also help deliver the programme if it can be secured.
The announcement was made today by council leader councillor Jenny Laing to the finance committee.
She said: “I am pleased to confirm that Sir Ian Wood will take on the role of chairmanship of the Economic Leadership Board.
“As well as providing the input to the key City Region Deal decision-making, the new leadership group will support and deliver tangible projects and initiatives to maximise the benefits of the North Sea oil opportunity for the city, including anchoring the relevant technology and supply chain in the North-east for the long term.
“They will also focus on sector initiatives to enhance the development and activities of key traditional industries to broaden our economic base in the medium term.”
Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils submitted a joint Statement of Intent, outlining key policy areas within the City Region Deal, to the UK and Scottish governments on September 4.
The new body chaired by Sir Ian will ensure the private sector plays a key role in the process driven in partnership by the local authorities.
The Aberdeen City Region Deal would improve transport links, infrastructure and housing to meet the demands of a growing population, while investing in innovation, skills and internationalisation to make sure the area continues to contribute substantially to UK plc for decades to come.
Cllr Laing said: “Given the significance of the City Region Deal for Aberdeen, if follows that the governance arrangements must reflect the spirit of collaboration between public and private sector that is inherent in the proposals we have submitted to the UK Government and Holyrood.
“The private sector participation in the City Deal Governance Group will be through a newly formed private sector-led Economic Leadership Board which will take over the role of Aberdeen City and Shire Economic Future.
“The board will comprise senior figures from the region’s key industry sectors including oil and gas, food and drink, life sciences and tourism, along with two representatives from the local authorities, one from Scottish Enterprise and the principals of the city’s two universities.”
Government support can take the form of grants and loans and can include requests for regulatory change to give local bodies greater control over spending and decision-making.
City Deals have so far been signed with eight English cities and Glasgow.
Cllr Laing said recently she hoped detailed negotiations with the Scottish and UK governments can be green-lighted before the end of the year.