Three Ayrshire Councils agree new joined-up economic approach

The three Ayrshire Councils have agreed to join forces to boost the local economy after exciting proposals were rubber-stamped this week.

The ambitious and ground-breaking Ayrshire Regional Economic Partnership will see the three local authorities combine resources and expertise when it is established in April 2019.

Elected members from North, South and East Ayrshire approved this new approach at meetings of their full Council this week.

The ambitious and ground-breaking Ayrshire Economic Partnership will provide strong regional leadership aimed at putting Ayrshire on the map. It will provide a determined and consistent voice ensuring that Ayrshire is lead in national debates and provide a powerful body to state the case for investment at a Scottish and UK level.

Key stakeholders including the national economic agencies will join the three Ayrshire Councils, businesses and the third sector to develop a unified vision for the area aimed at setting a bold approach to transforming the economy. Staff from the Councils and the other key partners will work together in a joint partnership to create new and innovative ways of working and bring fresh expertise and resources to the area.

Councillor Joe Cullinane, Leader of North Ayrshire Council, said: “We are delighted to be supporting this new approach.

“The Ayrshire economy has lagged behind for far too long now. It is unacceptable and we hope the Regional Partnership will enable us to move Ayrshire forward.

“We have worked really closely with our colleagues in East and South Ayrshire over a number of years now. All the work on the Ayrshire Growth Deal has cemented relations and put us in a strong position to hit the ground running with the Partnership.

“This is the economic vehicle which can drive our economy forward.”

Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council said “It’s in the interests of the whole of Ayrshire to get right behind these proposals.  We need to accept that we have lagged behind other regions with similar demographics in terms of being able to attract jobs and investment to our areas.

“Ayrshire is a sleeping giant in economic terms – but in order to awaken our full potential we need to change our approach. Doing more of the same will only generate the more of the same, but we have the potential to achieve so much more and our Regional Partnership proposals give us a real opportunity to readdress the balance.

“Our individual Economic Development services are performing well, but this imaginative plan to merge all of our business facing services across Ayrshire would give us a stronger voice in shaping economic strategies, greater level of influence nationally to draw investment and resources from a wider range of partners and the best possible support for businesses who want to grow, invest and create jobs here.”

Councillor Brian McGinley, Depute Leader of South Ayrshire Council and Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, said: “We’re committed to making the most of our local economy to ensure it is strong, successful, robust and supports jobs, growth, investment and regeneration that really deliver for our people and communities.

“The new Ayrshire Regional Partnership will help us achieve this for all of Ayrshire and will provide a solid framework for working with national agencies and making better use of resources to deliver the maximum impact for our area and really add value to what we do.

“It will also be an important vehicle as we continue to progress our ambitions for the Ayrshire Growth Deal and build on the positive input from the Scottish Government and the UK Government – seen most recently in the Prime Minister’s comments in Parliament this week regarding the importance of the Growth Deal.

“Working with our partners in East and North Ayrshire, we want to make the most of the terrific potential we have here in Ayrshire, and the new Partnership will help us do just that.”