Through the Stirling and Clackmannanshire city region deal, the Scottish Government is investing up to £15 million of capital investment to develop and augment key assets in culture, heritage and tourism in the region. That will support a programme of investments that is based around the potential for projects to grow the regional economy and deliver inclusive growth. It is a perfect opportunity not only to enhance the visitor experience but to attract new visitors, new businesses and new investment, delivering jobs and building a reputation for strong and effective partnership.
It is no wonder that I keep cheery, Presiding Officer.
It is great news that £15 million of Scottish Government funding has been allocated to culture, tourism and heritage investment through the deal.
Will the cabinet secretary say what progress has been made in identifying the projects that will benefit from the funding? Does she agree that a successful future for our high streets will, in part, be about appealing to local and tourism markets, and that the new creative hub that Creative Stirling has established in the city centre, which she visited recently, is a great demonstration of that?
The key projects are being developed in partnership between the national agencies and local business partners and will be set out when the final deal is signed and in delivery. Regional partners will prioritise projects, to reflect local priorities and raise the standard of provision for tourists.
A key part of the Stirling and Clackmannanshire city region deal is about ensuring that high streets are thriving and successful. Indeed, it says in the heads of terms agreement that the partners’ vision is
“a highly desirable place to live, work and visit: an attractive place in which to invest”.
I was delighted to visit Stirling. I was impressed with the new creative hub and Creative Stirling’s reach into the community. That is a good example of sustainable inclusive growth.
Given that we are talking about Stirling, and given that we did not have questions 1 and 2, with your indulgence, Presiding Officer, I will just say that the Wallace monument is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year and commend the people behind the Wallace wha hae! celebrations this weekend.
As part of the
Stirling and Clackmannanshire city region deal and as a result of the hard work of my good friend Stephen Kerr MP, the United Kingdom Government has agreed to invest £10 million for the establishment of a national tartan centre in Stirling, which will showcase the unique and long history of tartan in Scotland. Does the cabinet secretary agree that that will be a significant boost for tourism and the local economy in the Stirling area?
In addition to the funding that the Scottish Government is providing to culture, tourism and heritage investments, I am pleased that the UK Government is contributing to the area, with a proposal for a tartan centre, at a cost of £10 million. I very much look forward to seeing the plans for the centre. I am sure that anything that can help to promote our history and heritage will be welcomed.
I welcome the announcement from both Governments about the city region deal and the £15 million for culture and tourism that the cabinet secretary referred to.
The cabinet secretary will appreciate that tourism in Scotland relies heavily on European Union workers and that we will face challenges in that area in future years. Can she outline the work that is being done to promote tourism as a career choice and tell us how we can raise employment standards across the tourism and hospitality sector? She knows that I have raised that issue before.
On that last point, we are working with the Poverty Alliance to ensure that good working practices, and indeed good pay, are provided. We have identified funding to help the development of tourism as a career choice. We are also working with the UK Government on the tourism sector deal.
EU workers are absolutely essential. More than 11 per cent of our workers in the tourism and hospitality sector are EU citizens. They are very welcome here, which is why we have stepped up our support for the stay in Scotland campaign. Only this week, I spoke with both the Scottish Tourism Alliance and the British Hospitality Association about those very issues concerning EU workers. We are clear that addressing them will be key.
The idea that one can mess around with people’s plans for themselves and their families by flip-flopping on the date for the ending of freedom of movement is absolutely disgraceful, and I am glad to see that the UK Government has now realised that that is problematic. It has set out a number of other additional immigration rules only this week. We will look at them and, once we understand what it is proposing, will report to Parliament and the relevant committees.