Moray MP Douglas Ross has confirmed that UK government levelling up secretary Michael Gove has accepted his invitation to visit the area.
Douglas had asked the Secretary of State to come to Moray and meet with council officials, after their bid to the UK government’s second round two of levelling up, was unsuccessful.
Plans are now being made to ensure that Michael Gove will make the visit in the near future to meet directly with those involved in Moray Council’s bid and what lessons can be learned going forward ahead of a further round of funding.
Douglas confirmed the news in a letter to Councillor Marc Macrae, ahead of the council’s economic development and infrastructure services committee meeting today (Tuesday).
At that meeting, SNP councillors Graham Leadbitter and John Stuart got fellow members, outwith Moray Conservative members, to back their motion that criticised the UK government for not diverting levelling up funding to the area.
However, Douglas says that this is not the “time for petty party politics” and that the chances of future investment being awarded to Moray stands a better chance if everyone works together.
Douglas highlighted that the funding project in Scotland which received the highest amount of money from round two of the fund, had initially missed out in round one.
He says he is “delighted” that Michael Gove has agreed to come to Moray and looks forward to meeting him.
Councillor Macrae added he will continue to work closely with Douglas and council officials to give Moray the best possible chance of receiving millions from the UK government to boost job prospects across the area.
Moray MP Douglas Ross said: “I am delighted that Michael Gove has agreed to come to Moray to meet with council officials.
“Naturally I was extremely disappointed when Moray Council were ultimately unsuccessful in their bid to the Levelling Up Fund, despite the fantastic work of council officials in putting that bid together.
“However, this is not the time for petty party politics that local SNP councillors seem to want to engage in. It is about ensuring that the council can take on board lessons from what went wrong with their bid this time and ensure they give themselves the best possible chance for securing investment for Moray in the next round of UK government funding.
“Having council officials meet with the UK government secretary of state responsible for the fund will give them an ideal opportunity to ask him questions and ensure they know what is required to achieve a positive outcome next time.
“I’ve engaged closely with Michael since Moray missed out on this funding and it is fantastic news that he has agreed to come to Moray. I look forward to welcoming him to the area in the near future.”
Councillor Marc Macrae added: “As the chair of the council’s economic development committee, I am always keen to see new investment in Moray, particularly in our town centres.
“That is why when our bid didn’t get the green light from the UK government, I was more determined than ever to secure future funding for the area.
“It is extremely welcome that Michael Gove has agreed to Douglas Ross’ request for a meeting and I look forward to discussing future investment prospects for Moray with him.”