SDPA welcomes Aberdeen City and Shire growth, but highlights continued need for investment

Stuart Smith2012, News

The Aberdeen City and Shire Strategic Development Planning Authority (SDPA) has welcomed the news that Aberdeen City and Shire’s economy was the fastest growing in the UK in 2011.

The data, published by the Office for National Statistics, showed an annual growth rate of 6.5% for the area, compared to 1.9% for Scotland as a whole (see tables below). The growth in Aberdeen City and Shire accounted for 45% of the total Scottish growth.

As well as being the fastest growing area in the UK in 2011, Aberdeen City and Shire was the fastest growing in 2008 and the second fastest in both 2009 and 2010. Over the period since 2007, Aberdeen City and Shire growth has been 24.5%, against the Scottish total of 6.9%.

Aberdeen City and Shire continues to have the second highest Gross Value Added (GVA) per person in the UK, second only to inner London.

This comes on the back of numerous reports over recent months identifying strong prospects for continued growth, record take-up of industrial and office space in the area and an unemployment rate (claimant count) of just 1.6% in November 2012.
The level of growth experienced over the last few years supports the ambitious strategy for the region established in the structure plan, supported by the regional economic and transport strategies. Next year should see implementation move on apace, with industrial, commercial and residential development sites coming forward.

While this level of growth is to be welcomed, it highlights the importance of continued investment.

SDPA chairman Councillor Ramsay Milne said: “The Office for National Statistics report once again confirms that Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire is THE PLACE to do business in the UK. A clear message is being sent to investors, developers and those with a wide range of transferable skills – Come to Aberdeen and the North-east of Scotland.

“We however need the support of the UK and the Scottish Governments to provide infrastructure to support the rapid development which has come and is coming to the city.”

Councillor Peter Argyle, chair of regional transport partnership Nestrans, said: “Yet again we are seeing a report which shows the North-east punching significantly above its weight in terms of the economy. Securing the investment needed to ensure we have access to a modern, integrated transport network is vital if the region is to continue to build on its strong performance to date, safeguard its economic future and remain a key contributor to the wider UK economy.”

While progress with the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route and the recent announcement regarding funding support for super-fast broadband for Aberdeen are welcome, there continues to be a significant need for further investment in the infrastructure of the area to accommodate growth. The required investment covers a wide range of infrastructure including transport, affordable housing, educational provision, digital connectivity and water services.