Falkirk Growth Deal: £140m investment and 2000 jobs unveiled for area

A £140 million investment that it is hoped will bring 2000 new jobs to Falkirk is to be signed off today (Tuesday) in a major agreement between the UK and Scottish Governments and Falkirk Council.

By Kirsty Paterson, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Tuesday, 21st December 2021, 8:56 am

The Falkirk Growth Deal – which could unlock up to £1 billion of future investment – will deliver 11 major projects to transform the area.

The cash is a very welcome boost for the ‘Investment Zone’, which focuses on Falkirk and Grangemouth’s huge importance to the national economy and which is already seeing the council working closely with the private sector to attract investment.

A major part of the cash will be to help the area’s petrochemical industry – which currently produces 10 per cent of Scotland’s carbon emissions – make the complex transformation to net zero.

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Cecil Meiklejohn, leader of Falkirk Council, signs the growth deal

The proposals have been years in the planning but today’s signing of the heads of terms – by Scottish Government economy secretary Kate Forbes, UK government minister Iain Stewart and the leader of Falkirk Council, Cecil Meiklejohn – is a significant milestone.

In addition to the £90 million investment from UK and Scottish Governments, there will be a further £45 million from Falkirk Council, and £5.8 million from Scottish Canals.

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This means projects that can now go ahead include developing a new ‘transport hub’ at Falkirk Grahamston railway station and a new canal centre to regenerate the former Barr’s factory at Lock 16 in Camelon.

UK government minister Iain Stewart

There will also be several schemes that will put Grangemouth in the forefront of sustainable technology.

These include £10 million for a carbon dioxide utilisation centre that will capture CO2 to manufacture more sustainable products.

And a further £10 million will help to develop new sustainable processes using feedstocks such as food processing and whisky by-products.

The aim is for Grangemouth to lead the way in a ‘just transition’ away from fossil fuels, in a way that won’t leave communities behind in the way they were when the steel works and coal mines closed forever.

Scottish Government economy secretary Kate Forbes

Among the projects will be £4 million for an Innovation Skills Transition Centre that will be led by Forth Valley College, helping local school and college students get the right skills for local industry.

The £21 million transport hub at Falkirk Grahamston – which will be renamed Falkirk Central – will be part of a ‘green corridor’, including the new Westfield Crossing, that will connect Falkirk and Grangemouth for cyclists and pedestrians.

And there will be £4 million to create Scotland’s Canal Centre, which will include Scottish Canal’s new headquarters.

The cash will also help the area tap into the success of the Kelpies and the Falkirk Wheel, with a further £3 million for Scotland’s National Outdoor Art Park, along the Forth & Clyde canal.

Scottish Government Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said the deal would “enable inclusive and sustainable economic growth for the area, creating a fairer and greener economy.”

She added: “The deal will help regenerate town centres, create new cultural attractions, transform local transport, reskill the workforce and help decarbonise industry.

“Our investment will ensure communities from across Falkirk and the surrounding area benefit from opportunities created and highlights our commitment to invest in our places and people.”

UK Government Minister Iain Stewart said: “Today’s landmark signing will deliver transformative investment in Falkirk and the surrounding areas, including £40million from the UK Government.

“The deal will create and protect jobs in the area through innovative projects such as supporting Grangemouth petrochemical complex’s transition away from fossil fuels with the creation of a centre of excellence in carbon capture as we move towards net zero.

“Skills and training will get a boost too with the creation of sites for sustainable manufacturing that will encourage further investment.

“Making public transport cleaner, greener and more accessible with a new transport hub will encourage visitors.

“This Deal is part of £1.7 billion the UK Government is investing in levelling up communities right across Scotland.”

Cecil Meiklejohn, leader of Falkirk Council said: “This investment by the UK and Scottish Governments will bring a massive economic boost to the local area and has the potential to create up to 2000 jobs and attract £1 billion of private sector investment.

“A lot of hard work has gone into securing this deal, which will help us deliver on our council priorities and our Council of the Future transformation programme.”

At a meeting of Falkirk Council on Monday, councillors gave their backing to the scheme with general agreement that it was good news for the district.

Some expressed their concern that while the deal is great news for Falkirk and Grangemouth, other parts of the district would not benefit.

But they were told that the 2000 jobs created would be for people right across the area, not just in Grangemouth – and that the initial funds would unlock more money in the future.

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