IN the week that the £1.2 billion Glasgow and Clyde Valley city deal formally begins, six local authorities in the south east of the country, led by Edinburgh, will announce today that they will be seeking a similar deal in a bid to create thousands of jobs.

The Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region – comprising Edinburgh, Borders, Fife, Midlothian, East Lothian and West Lothian councils – will now work together to develop a deal with the Scottish and UK Governments to grow the local, national and UK economies.

Inverness and the Aberdeen-Aberdeenshire region were confirmed in the Budget as being under consideration for city deals, in which the UK and Scottish Governments plus the relevant local authorities all pledge to invest or loan money over long periods to boost economic growth.

Some 26 city deals have been agreed across the UK, and in Scotland, as well as the two northern cities, it has been reported that Dundee, Perth and Fife are also believed to be interested in securing a deal.

At the heart of the Edinburgh and South East plan lies a £1 billion infrastructure fund, with priority areas for investment likely to include transport, housing, economic regeneration, energy and digital connectivity.

It is estimated that an additional £3.2 billion of private sector investment could be raised, generating tens of thousands of new jobs and providing a sustainable five per cent uplift to the local economy.

The deal will be targeted at maximising the opportunities afforded by the world class research base in the area, and would look to exploit the wide range of technologies being pioneered across the city region.

It had been hoped that the city deal proposal could be put together in time for the Budget, but The National has learned that considerable negotiations were needed between the six councils to put together the plan.

The Edinburgh region city deal had been well trailed and had even been raised in the House of Commons by two MPs, with Government ministers said to be receptive to the idea.

The six partners hope to emulate the success of the city deal in the Cambridge area where the education and bio-life science sectors are also strong.

Investments ranging from an upgrade of Leith Docks to the development of digital connectivity across the region have already been suggested.

At the time a city deal for Edinburgh and the region was mooted, Councillor Frank Ross, the capital’s economic convener, said it was not a case of copying Glasgow.

“Glasgow got in first and I don’t have an issue with that,” he said. “We have different strengths.”

The new partnership stated that, assuming a positive response from ministers, detailed work would begin on prioritising potential investment.

In collaboration with representatives from both governments, the local authorities will also pledge to ensure that the overall programme addresses inequality.

Meanwhile, the Glasgow and Clyde Valley city deal will shortly begin a 20-year programme of investment.

The eight local authorities involved are Glasgow, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, South Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire Council.

The Scottish and UK Governments are both investing £500 million in the deal and the Glasgow Clyde Valley partners will borrow a further £130 million. They aim to secure a further £3.3 billion of private sector investment.

Speaking on behalf of the six local authorities City of Edinburgh Council leader, Cllr Andrew Burns, said: “I am delighted to be working with our five neighbouring local authorities to pursue a deal for the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region.

“In creating this fund, we want to build on our strengths while tackling inequality and other constraints.

“Our next step will be to seek UK and Scottish Government agreement on the development of a detailed proposition; one we believe can unlock billions of pounds of investment, ensuring continued growth and reduction in inequality across one of Europe’s most successful city region economies.”