THE Scottish and UK governments have announced a joint investment of £65 million to boost the Moray economy.

The funding will go towards targeted development in several areas including infrastructure, transport, tourism, energy and skills.

A total of £32.5 million will be invested by the Scottish Government over a 10 to 15-year period, while the UK Government will match that funding over a 15-year period.

The Scottish Government has already committed more than £1.7 billion over the next 10 to 20 years to city region and growth deals and related investments across Scotland.

Further and Higher Education Minister Richard Lochhead, who made the announcement on behalf of the Scottish Government, believes the latest investment will strengthen both the local economy and community in Moray.

“The Moray Growth Deal will make a real lasting difference to the future of the region and inject confidence into the economy, improving the quality of life for local people,” he said.

“Successful delivery of this deal will create new high-value jobs, help safeguard the local economy and strengthen Moray’s communities.

“I am grateful to Moray Council and all their partners for their hard work in getting to this stage, and I recognise the important involvement of the community in developing the deal proposals.

Lochhead added that the Scottish Government will announce which projects will be supported by the joint investment “as soon as possible”.

The leader of Moray Council, Graham Leadbitter, said the announcement demonstrates national confidence in Moray’s economic future and paves the way for attracting further investment.

“This is the moment we’ve been waiting for since the idea of a Growth Deal for Moray was first floated,” he said. “Moray is a wonderfully attractive place to live, work, study and visit and the whole purpose of the Growth Deal is to maximise the desirability of our region.

“This announcement is the most critical milestone to date and what we, as a Moray partnership, have been working so hard to achieve.

“In the coming months we’ll be progressing the detailed business cases to reach a final heads of terms, when the total value of the deal, including all the public and private sector contributions, are known.”

Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington said the funding will help to unlock the economic potential of the region.

“This transformative package of support will boost the region’s economy by helping to attract and retain people to live and work in the area,” he said.

“These deals are a key part of the UK Government’s longstanding commitment to invest directly in Scotland’s future.

“They give communities the financial backing to develop projects that place Scotland at the forefront of innovation, technology and connectivity.

“As we work alongside the Scottish Government and local partners, this deal will help unlock the region’s economic potential for inclusive growth, including supporting local services and attracting businesses.”

Scottish Secretary David Mundell added: “This Moray Growth Deal is a wonderful opportunity for the UK Government and partners to boost the economy of the region with a range of transformational projects.

“The UK Government is working to create opportunities, jobs and long-term growth right across Scotland, and so far have committed £1.39bn in city and growth deals to achieve this.”