The new business-led Borderlands Economic Forum is now in place, to support delivery of the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal. Working in support of the Borderlands Partnership Board, the ten private business representatives on the Economic Forum will bring commercial experience to complement public sector stakeholders from the South of Scotland Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, and the Cumbria and North East Local Enterprise Partnerships.
The Deal was formally signed by the Partnership and the Scottish and UK Governments on 18th March, bringing in up to £452million of fresh investment to the Borderlands area. It is a step change for businesses and communities of the Borderlands, addressing the challenges around increasing productivity, growing the working age population and delivering a more inclusive economy. A range of projects will deliver up to 5,500 jobs and £1.1billion of additional GVA with a sustainable and inclusive approach to growth. The Deal is unique, being the only cross-border deal and covering the largest geographical area of any regional growth Deal – around 10% of the land mass of the UK.
Cumbria-based business consultant Jack Stopforth is the newly elected Chair of the Borderlands Economic Forum. He said: “I am delighted to be elected as the first Chair of the Borderlands Economic Forum. The Deal will enable the Borderlands area to create sustainable jobs, re-invigorate the economy, and build strategically for long term growth and prosperity. We are excited to be involved in its delivery and want to engage the wider business community to ensure that we see the maximum return of investment, jobs and training opportunities for local people and inward investors”.
Cllr John Mallinson, Leader of Carlisle City Council and Borderlands Partnership Board Co-Chair, said: “Our new Economic Forum is a key part of delivering the Deal, bringing the business voice to the table and helping us to remain connected to the business community across the region. I’m looking forward to the knowledge and experience they will contribute.
Cllr Shona Haslam, Leader of Scottish Borders Council and Borderlands Partnership Co-Chair said: “The Deal is an ambitious approach to cross-border working between Governments, local authorities and other partners which will boost economic growth by helping existing business, encouraging new ventures and bringing a wealth of improvements to our region, so it is vital to have the business community with us”.
The Deal will deliver across four themes: improving places; enabling infrastructure; encouraging green growth; and supporting innovation, business and skills. Each theme has an agreed set of projects which will help deliver a step change for the businesses and communities of Borderlands by increasing productivity, growing the working age population and delivering a more inclusive economy.
The Borderlands Partnership is made up of Carlisle City Council, Cumbria County Council, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Northumberland County Council and Scottish Borders Council.