City Region Deals


About the Inquiry

Image: Chris Brown


The remit of the Committee's inquiry is—

To explore rationale, prioritisation and value for money in relation to city region deals, including the progress to date of city region deals in delivering job creation and economic growth, and the structure and governance of city region deals in Scotland.


In December 2011, the UK Government launched City Deals as part of its Unlocking Growth in Cities White Paper. City deals are agreements between the UK Government and cities (through their local authority) to give local areas across the UK specific powers and freedoms to help the region support economic growth, create jobs or invest in local projects.

The first wave of City Deals, launched in July 2012, covered the eight largest cities in England outside of London – Birmingham, Bristol, Greater Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Nottingham, Newcastle and Sheffield.

A further 18 city deals, covering the next 14 largest cities in England outside London, along with the six cities with the highest population growth between 2001 and 2010, were agreed between September 2013 and July 2014. Subsequent Growth Deals were rolled out to a number of Local Enterprise Partnerships in July 2014 and January 2015, and Devolution Deals transferring powers, funding and accountability for policies out to local regions were introduced across the latter half of 2015 and early 2016.

In Scotland, City Deals include the Scottish Government as partners and are referred to as "City region deals". The Scottish Government explains that they offer the potential for new collaborative regional partnerships, focused on long-term strategic approaches to improving regional economies in accordance with the Scottish Government's economic strategy. Three City Deals in Scotland have been agreed to date.

The Audit Scotland/Accounts Commission briefing, City Deals Overview, gives an overview of the deals’ introduction and update on progress up to May 2016, and the House of Commons Library briefing on City Deals gives a brief update to November 2016. The three agreed City Deals are Glasgow City Region Deal, Aberdeen City Region Deal and Inverness and Highland City Region Deal. A further nine councils are currently preparing City Deal bids.

The Scottish Parliament Information Centre’s briefing on City Region Deals gives further information on the background to and progress of City Region Deals.

SPICe Overview Update

The Scottish Parliament Information Centre has produced the following update on the progress of City Region Deals:


The Committee launched a call for views on Tuesday 4 April 2017.

The Committee considered the written submissions received and agreed to invite the following organisations to give evidence:

Wednesday 1 November 2017

  • Policy Scotland
  • Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies, Newcastle University
  • Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights
  • FSB Scotland
  • Transform Scotland

Wednesday 8 November 2017

  • Glasgow City Region Cabinet
  • Edinburgh and South East City Region Deal Partners
  • Highland Council
  • Fife Council
  • Aberdeen City Council

Wednesday 15 November 2017

  • Ayrshire Growth Deal
  • Falkirk Council
  • Skills Development Scotland

Wednesday 22 November 2017

  • Scottish Government
  • UK Government


Call for Views

The Committee has today, Tuesday 4 April 2017, launched a call for written evidence from all interested parties as part of its scrutiny of city region deals.

Organisations and individuals are invited to submit written evidence to the Committee setting out their views on whether City Region Deals are on course to deliver local economic growth and major infrastructure projects in line with their original proposals. This could include views on the effectiveness of shifting responsibility for local economic development to local leaders through joint working initiatives.

To allow the Committee to take account of any views received, submissions should be sent no later than Tuesday 2 May 2017. For further details on the Committee's call for written evidence, please see the link below.

Read the call for evidence.

Read the news release on the call for evidence.

Written Submissions

Read the written submissions received.

Oral Evidence

Wednesday 1 November 2017

The Committee took evidence from:

  • Professor Duncan Maclennan, Policy Scotland, University of Glasgow;
  • Dr Peter O'Brien, Research Associate, Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies, Newcastle University;
  • Lesley Warren, Policy and Public Affairs Officer, Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights;
  • Barry McCulloch, Senior Policy Adviser, Federation of Small Businesses;
  • Chris Day, Policy Advisor, Transform Scotland.

Link to Papers for meeting on 1 November 2017
Link to Official Report of meeting on 1 November 2017

Wednesday 8 November 2017

The Committee took evidence from:

  • Cllr Susan Aitken, Chair, Glasgow City Region Cabinet and Leader of Glasgow City Council;
  • Kevin Rush, Director of Regional Economic Growth, Glasgow City Region Deal;
  • Cllr Adam McVey, Leader, City of Edinburgh Council, and Andrew Kerr, Chief Executive, City of Edinburgh Council, Edinburgh and South-East Scotland City Region Deal Partners;
  • Cllr Graham Ross, Depute Provost and Leader of Inverness and Area, and John Robertson, Programme Manager, City Region Deal, Highland Council;
  • Cllr David Ross, Co-Leader, Fife Council;
  • Cllr Jenny Laing, Co-Leader, and Richard Sweetnam, Head of Economic Development, Aberdeen City Council.

Link to Papers for meeting on 8 November 2017
Link to Official Report of meeting on 8 November 2017

Follow-up Correspondence from the meeting on 8 November 2017

The local authorities noted below provided follow-up correspondence to the Committee after the meeting on 8 November 2017:

Wednesday 15 November 2017

The Committee took evidence from:

  • Patrick Wiggins, Director, Ayrshire Growth Deal;
  • Douglas Duff, Head of Planning and Economic Development, Falkirk Council;
  • Phil Ford, Regional Skills Planning Lead, and Paul Zealey, Regional Skills Planning Lead, Skills Development Scotland.

Link to Papers for meeting on 15 November 2017
Link to Official Report of meeting on 15 November 2017

Visits and Events

Committee Visit to Paisley on 6 November 2017

The Committee visited Paisley on 6 November 2017 and met with a range of local representatives from the Glasgow and Renfrewshire area to discuss the Glasgow City Region Deal. A note of the key points made by the local representatives during the discussion is available below:


The Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work wrote to the Committee on 21 August 2017 in relation to the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal: