AYRSHIRE is set for its biggest boost in decades as the governments in Edinburgh and London agreed to funding to the tune of £200million.

Scottish Secretary, David Mundell MP, was in Kilmarnock last week as he confirmed that the Conservative government would be putting in £100million and the Scottish Parliament’s infrastructure secretary Michael Matheson announced that Holyrood would match the funding.

That means over £240million will be allocated to the deal, £60million less than the much mooted £300million previously thought.

The long-anticipated Ayrshire Growth Deal will now become a reality and it is likely to create thousands of jobs, bring £2billion of investment into the area, improve local infrastructure and breathe new life into the Ayrshire economy.

David Mundell said: “I am here today to confirm that the UK Government is going to contribute £100m to the Ayrshire Growth Deal. We’ve been in discussions with the councils and other partners for a while and we’re now able to give the go head. The Scottish Government are, I think, going to contribute an equivalent sum and we are ready to really go with some exciting projects across Ayrshire. Here in Kilmarnock, we’re focusing on the HALO project this morning but there are a lot of other projects across the whole of Ayrshire and what we hope is that the Growth Deal will be transformative, help the Ayrshire economy into the 21st century and – most importantly – deliver jobs and economic security for people here.”

Michael Matheson MSP said: “Whilst I am disappointed that the UK Government has decided to depart from previous practice of agreeing joint announcements on growth deal support, I am glad to see that the UK Government has finally moved to make its commitment to Ayrshire clear. This is something which we have been urging them to do for some time.

“The Scottish Government has already made clear our commitment to invest in the Ayrshire Growth Deal for some considerable time. And on the basis of our 50:50 approach to funding growth deals, we will of course match the £100m announced for Ayrshire by the UK Government. We will also continue our dialogue with our Ayrshire partners on those projects.”

Councillor Joe Cullinane, Leader of North Ayrshire, said: “This has been a real collective effort by the three Ayrshire councils, cross-party politicians, the public and private sector and many other partners.

“We are thrilled to have now received this confirmation of funding and are excited to say that that work will start on these projects this year.

“We have all worked incredibly hard and can now look forward to some really exciting times for Ayrshire. It’s up to us now to deliver these projects and create the jobs and investment this area so desperately needs.”

The finalised deal is set to be signed in Ayrshire within the next six weeks.