Vision for Aberdeen of the future amid North Sea downturn

Aberdeen news

Aberdeen councillors have given unanimous backing to a new vision for the north-east economy for the next 20 years.

Members agreed the Regional Economic Strategy at a meeting of the full council yesterday.

The plan has been drawn up during a downturn in the North Sea offshore industry and amid tumbling global oil prices.

It includes investment in infrastructure – such as road, rail and air link links, and innovation – making sure Aberdeen consolidates its position as a centre of excellence in oil and gas, with inclusive economic growth.

This would entail developing a skilled workforce, providing affordable housing and improving the city centre, and working with other cities and organisations across the world.

The plan is to build on the advantages from North Sea oil and gas and also deliver a more balanced economy from innovation and competitive business.

Aberdeen, it is hoped, would become a world-leading base for offshore technology. The strategy also supports other sectors including renewables energy, tourism, food and drink, and fisheries and agriculture.

Aberdeen City Council leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: “The Aberdeen region has reached a key stage in its economic history.

“Aberdeen needs to be a city region that competes on an international level with other global energy cities, not just city regions within Scotland or the UK.

“We cannot afford to be complacent and we must embrace the potential of the area and changes in the way the region functions. Alongside this, there is a clear opportunity to contribute significantly to the UK and Scottish economies by maximising the recovery of remaining oil and gas reserves.”

Meanwhile, councilors agreed to set up a joint committee to oversee the implementation of the Aberdeen City Region Deal, one of the ways of achieving the economic strategy.

The committee – in alliance with Aberdeenshire Council and Opportunity North East (ONE) – will be involved in the prioritisation of projects, improvements in the way the City Region deal is being carried out and the setting of budgets.

Aberdeen City Council will be represented by council leader Ms Laing, convener of finance, policy and resources Willie Young, and the vice-convener of finance, policy and resources Ross Thomson.

Negotiations between Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire councils and the UK and Scottish governments on the Aberdeen City Region Deal plans are ongoing.