Scotland politics

Scottish independence: Governments to invest £1bn in Glasgow

Glasgow Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption It has been claimed the scheme could create 28,000 new jobs in the Glasgow area over the next 20 years

Glasgow and its surrounding area are to benefit from more than £1bn of investment from the UK and Scottish governments.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the money from the City Deals scheme would help pay for roads, bus services, employment programmes and an airport rail link.

Both governments are to invest £500m in the scheme.

It came ahead of a speech on the referendum by the Mr Cameron in Perth.

Local authorities in the Clyde Valley area will also contribute £130m to the City Deals scheme, bringing the total to more than £1.1bn.

It was announced last year that Glasgow would be the first city in Scotland to benefit from City Deal status - an agreement between the UK Treasury and a city region.

Similar deals are already in place in Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool.

The UK government has claimed the investment could create 28,000 new jobs over the next 20 years, and could eventually generate around £1.75bn of economic growth in the city every year.

A joint article by Mr Cameron and Chief Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander in the Evening Times newspaper said: "Glasgow plans to create a £1.1bin infrastructure fund that will support projects such as the city centre-airport rail link, major improvements to the region's roads and bus network, and the development of new employment sites.

"The UK government is offering £500m of new funding to support this genuinely ambitious proposal, with local authorities in the region providing a further £130m.

"Building on this significant investment, we are inviting the Scottish government to match the UK government contribution.

"This vote of confidence in Glasgow will also help generate private sector money so businesses can flourish."

In exchange, Glasgow will take active measures to further reduce unemployment and help move people in low-paid jobs into higher-paid ones, Mr Cameron and Mr Alexander said.

Their article continued: "These are genuine powers that will change the fortunes of people across the region by creating new jobs, improving transport networks, boosting businesses and providing skills to young people and the long-term unemployed."

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon later confirmed the Scottish government would also invest £500m in the scheme.

She said: "I can confirm that the Scottish government will match in full the funding announced today by the UK government - a proposal which we understand consists of just £15m a year for the first five years, with future years' funding contingent on a review at the end of the first five year period.

"Of course, the UK's proposed £15m a year is dwarfed by the Scottish government's on-going investment in Glasgow.

"Investment in the Commonwealth Games, the new Southern General hospital, Fastlink and the Glasgow Subway improvements alone amounts to a massive £1.5bn in capital spend - that is Scottish government investment in jobs and infrastructure happening now.

"We have also provided capital funding of £1.1bn to Glasgow City Council since 2008.

"As well as matching the UK government funding now, we will also guarantee this funding to Glasgow when Scotland becomes independent."

'Silent majority'

The announcement was welcomed by Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson.

He said: "This is fantastic news for Glasgow and the Clyde Valley. It will help us to move to the next level in terms of economic growth for the city region. We have been working closely together with the UK government on this project for some time, and I am delighted to say it has borne fruit.

"The City Deal will bring tens of thousands of jobs, encourage growth and improve our competitiveness to bring benefits across the whole of the Clyde Valley area for the next 20 years."

Meanwhile, in his speech in Perth on Thursday afternoon, Mr Cameron urged the "silent majority" who support Scotland staying in the UK to speak up.

During the speech, ahead of the 18 September independence referendum, he said: "We've heard the noise of the nationalist few, but now it is time for the voices of the silent majority to be heard.

"The silent majority who feel happy being part of the UK; the silent majority who don't want the risks of going it alone; the silent majority who worry about what separation would mean for their children and grandchildren.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption David Cameron's comments will come at a rally for the Union

"With 77 days to go, we need the voices of the many to ring out across the land. For each one to realise that they are not alone because there are millions just like them."

Mr Cameron also argued that it is possible to be both a patriotic Scot and to want the country to stay in the UK.

Blair Jenkins, head of the Yes Scotland campaign for independence, said the PM should be more concerned by the "struggling majority" than the "silent majority", and said Tory austerity cuts were pushing more Scots into poverty.

Mr Jenkins said: "David Cameron is seriously out of touch if he thinks there is a silent majority in Scotland in favour of the Tories and their austerity agenda.

"The reality is there is a very vocal majority against David Cameron governing Scotland, with just a single Tory MP here.

"Thanks to the Westminster system, another 30,000 children in Scotland have been pushed into poverty because of Tory welfare cuts - yet the Westminster parties want to spend up to £4bn a year on new Trident nuclear weapons.

"Nothing better illustrates the need for a 'Yes' vote in September, so that we can put bairns before bombs."

Mr Jenkins added: "The majority David Cameron should be concerned about is the struggling majority, the very many people in Scotland who are faced with low salaries and the rising costs of living, and who will vote 'Yes' to a fairer and more prosperous Scotland."