Ayrshire Growth Deal (19 Jan 2017)

Alan Brown Scottish National Party, Kilmarnock and Loudoun

I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this very important debate for our area. She rightly says that to date the Government have focused on city deals. City deals certainly have a place and we welcome the investment they have brought to Scotland. However, in terms of connectivity and distance between cities, there is no doubt that another approach needs to be undertaken to regenerate areas like Ayrshire, which have suffered from de-industrialisation.

I was looking today at the latest unemployment figures: 1,960 in my constituency of Kilmarnock and Loudoun, the 76th highest claimant rate by constituency; 1,745 in Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock; 1,635 in Central Ayrshire; and 2,185 in North Ayrshire and Arran, the 29th highest claimant rate by constituency. It is therefore really important that a new way is found to re-industrialise our area.