A strong economy gives us the opportunity to address so many of the issues facing Ayrshire, from high unemployment to poor health. Ayrshire’s economy has lagged behind Scotland for too many years, with disappointing employment figures and too few businesses choosing to set up and grow here.
Since becoming an MSP, securing the support of the Scottish and UK Governments for the Ayrshire Growth Deal has been one of my most important achievements.
The Ayrshire Growth Deal is a major programme of investment to boost the Ayrshire economy across sectors ranging from tourism to biotechnology and space travel. Funded by the private sector, local councils and the UK and Scottish Governments, it has the potential to turn the area into an economic powerhouse.
With the Growth Deal now agreed, it's vital that we make the most of it to strengthen the local economy and give businesses the confidence to grow and develop in the years ahead.
I’m proud to have played a role in delivering the HALO project, which is turning the old Johnnie Walker plant in Kilmarnock into an exciting new development with office space, housing, sports facilities and a district heating system. This kind of innovative ambitious project is exactly what Ayrshire needs more of if we want to make the most of what the region has to offer.