City Region and Growth Deals: Growing Equality for Scotland?

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City Region Deals (CRDs) and Growth Deals are arrangements between the UK Government, the Scottish Government, local governments, and (private, public or third sector) local stakeholders that seek to pool resources and expertise in bespoke ‘packages’ tailored towards defined geographical areas and designed to provide funding for specific projects. Deals are envisaged to last for between 10 and 20 years. They are, in essence, vehicles to promote economic development and growth. Between 2011 and 2019, the UK Government committed about £2.3 billion to 32 City Region Deals or Growth Deals across the UK. Further
financial contributions have come from participating partners. By 2020, for Scotland a total of £5.2 billion had been committed by all partners involved, and by 2022, eleven deals had been agreed.

In Scotland, CRDs and Growth Deals are expected to explicitly engage with the Scottish Government’s agenda on ‘inclusive growth’. This is in contrast, at least on the discursive level, to the UK Government’s focus on growth as more ‘traditionally’ understood and measured in gross domestic product (GDP). In that, CRDs and Growth Deals arguably have at least the potential to be a socially progressive force if they can proactively address inequalities and exclusions whilst also taking into account the impact of economic growth on the environment and on climate change.

This report examines whether, in Scotland, the potential of the deals to be a progressive force has been realised with regards to the themes of openness, partnership and inclusivity both during the early
development phases of the deals and in the more concrete project-oriented phases thereafter. The report discusses the extent to which the making of the various CRDs and Growth Deals has included a wide range
of communities, whether those who were involved in the deal-making processes considered equality and
inclusion issues, and whether equality impacts were actively monitored.

The report is underpinned by the analysis of publicly available CRD and Growth Deal documents - in
particular the ‘heads of terms’ agreed for each deal by local stakeholders, the Scottish Government and the UK Government - and by data gleaned from eighteen interviews, conducted in 2018, with people
involved in the making of the seven deals scrutinised in this report
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationPaisley
PublisherUWS-Oxfam Partnership
Number of pages35
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2023

Publication series

NameCollaborative Research Reports Series
PublisherUWS-Oxfam Partnership


  • urban development
  • equality
  • urban governance


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