Nicola Sturgeon has called on David Cameron to sign an urgent city deal for Aberdeen to help it through the downturn in the oil industry.
The Scottish Government has offered to fund the deal on a 50:50 basis to support innovation, digital connectivity and infrastructure.
The First Minister will hold a special meeting of the Scottish Cabinet on January 26 to be attended by Dr Lena Wilson, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise and chair of the energy jobs taskforce, followed by a visit to Aberdeen on February 1 for meetings with BP executives, Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce and others.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Ms Sturgeon said: “As you know, our respective officials have been discussing city region deals for Aberdeen and Inverness.
“I welcome this engagement and the opportunity to support each of our city regions to make an optimum contribution to both the Scottish and the UK economies.
“Given the current situation in Aberdeen, with significant private-sector job losses announced in recent weeks by the oil and gas industry, it is vital that government sends a strong and unequivocal signal that it is fully supportive of the region’s position as a global oil and gas hub.
“The city deal provides a good opportunity to signal our respective governments’ support for the region. Against that backdrop, I am supportive of moving as soon as possible to agree the Aberdeen city deal.
“Proposals include plans to consolidate the region’s global reputation in the oil and gas industry.
“A new innovation hub will support Aberdeen to make the transition from an operations base to a global centre for technology and R&D investment, and anchor the oil and gas industry as a major success story for the Scottish and UK economies now and in the years to come.
“This deal will also pave the way for diversifying the economy, building on existing strengths in biopharmaceuticals, agri-food and drink.
“Digital connectivity, supporting the Nigg harbour expansion, investment in housing and transport will also all play an important role in supporting and growing the economy of Aberdeen city region for the future.
“Key industry players, led by Opportunity North East, have endorsed these proposals as the surest way to secure the region’s economic future.
“As was the case with Glasgow and the Clyde Valley, I am prepared for the Scottish Government to fund the deal on a 50:50 basis and to work with you, as a matter of urgency, to bring this to fruition.
“As a sign that both ourselves, your government and the local councils are doing all we can to address the issue, proceeding to a tri-partite agreement as soon as possible would be welcome.”