Lord Duncan addressing delegates at V&A Dundee

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland kicks off nationwide Digital Cities & Regions

Lord Ian Duncan, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Scotland, kicked off FutureScot’s annual Digital Cities & Regions at V&A Dundee last month. Te Conservative peer said

he was “delighted” to be in the city at the inaugural event, which focused on the policy and technology implications of the Tay Cities Deal, whose ‘Heads of Terms’ agreement was signed in November last year. “Tis area has been the centre

of the world before and it has now joined the world again to see what it has to offer,” he said, addressing delegates at the venue on March 1. Following the £1bn investment

into Dundee’s waterfront, and now the collaboration between the city and council areas cover- ing Perth & Kinross, North East Fife and Angus, supported by a

joint UK and Scottish Govern- ment economic stimulus pro- gramme, he said the deal was an “historic” opportunity to put the region back on the map. “Te two governments col-

lectively will spend £300m in Dundee but that is just the ingre- dients if you like; that will rise still further as others recognise what that investment will mean and what it can deliver,” he added. John Alexander, Leader of

Dundee City Council and Chair of the Scottish Cities Alliance, urged for clarity on the detail of the deal; currently there is funding allocated to a number of deal ben- eficiaries, including the University of Dundee, the James Hutton Institute and Abertay University. But he said: “Heads of terms

is a very important marker but there’s no detail yet on when


project owners can drawer down the funding so in a year’s time, in six months time, I hope we will have detail on exactly what those monies will mean to individual projects, when they will come on stream and when we will start delivering on the economic growth and jobs and once we’ve got that in place it will instil con- fidence in a way that we haven’t got at the current time.” He said also that he was pressing

government to ensure the pro- gramme spans the next 10 financial years, rather than the 15 described in the original deal timeframe. FutureScot ran a Digital Cities

& Regions conference covering Edinburgh & South East Scotland on Tursday, March 7, at Edin- burgh City Chambers; for further Digital Cities & Regions in 2019 visit


City Region Deals will inject vital cash into areas of the country where growth has been, accord- ing to Tim Allan, President of the Scottish Chambers of Com- merce, “anaemic” over the last decade. Te deals are gradually ploughing cash into the coffers of austerity-blighted councils and communities which desperately need fresh impetus across skills, infrastructure and specialist target areas of the economy. For Edinburgh & South East

Scotland, the deal is laser-fo- cused: half of the available £1.3bn deal programme will go straight into what is termed ‘Data Driven Innovation’ (DDI); the DDI initiative will see the University of Edinburgh and Heriot Watt

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