New fund open to Borders in 'levelling up' bid

The Borders could benefit from significant investment after being named one of the priority areas for a £4.8 billion fund.

Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 4:46 pm

The UK Government said the fund, aimed to drive social mobility and level up opportunity, will support projects such as town centre regeneration, transport improvements and heritage projects.

The Borders has been allocated as a Priority Group 1, meaning it has been identified as an area with the highest levels of need based on factors including need for economic recovery, growth and improved connectivity.

Bids for a single project or package bids can request up to £20 million.

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Scottish Borders Council leader Shona Haslam said a successful bid could be “truly transformational” for communities in the region.

"There is serious money available to help us improve our area,” Mrs Haslam said.

“I’ve already spoken with the Chief Secretary and the Communities Secretary and I believe we are well placed to put forward a competitive bid.”

The fund will run from 2021/22 to 2024/25, and drive regeneration in areas that have received less government investment in recent years.

In the first round of funding, the UK Government will prioritise projects which are able to demonstrate investment or begin delivery on the ground in the 2021-22 financial year.

Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk MP John Lamont said the Levelling Up Fund would help to increase opportunity in areas often passed over by government investment.

He said: “For places like the Borders to thrive, we need to keep our young people living and working in our communities. Too many are forced to leave the Borders to find employment and education opportunities.

“Proper investment will boost economic growth and boost opportunity, making our area more attractive for businesses and workers to locate to.

“I welcome that more details have now been published. I look forward to working with Scottish Borders Council on finding projects that can be successful in the bidding process.”