A GOVERNMENT minister has been in Carlisle to discuss the landmark Borderlands Deal.

Iain Stewart MP, the UK Government minister for growth deals in Scotland, met representatives of the inclusive growth deal to find out how the deal is helping to benefit the entire region.

Worth £452 million, the deal is a regional investment programme jointly supported by the UK and Scottish governments and local partners.

The Minister was shown around Carlisle Station by Cllr Stewart Young, Leader of Cumbria County Council and Cllr John Mallinson, Leader of Carlisle City Council before joining other representatives of the Partnership including Cllr Mark Rowley, of Scottish Borders Council, to hear about progress with the Deal since the March signing.

The £20 million plan for the future of Carlisle Station was explained, and the minister also paid a visit to Tullie House.

Mr Stewart said: "“The Scottish-English Borderlands region is home to many vibrant communities and innovative businesses with huge potential that the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, including UK Government investment of £265 million, will help to unlock, so the region can build back better from the pandemic.

"At the heart of the Deal is a major boost to connectivity for southern Scotland and northern England which will bring significant benefits to the area, and I was very interested to see Carlisle Station and hear about plans to transform it into a major travel hub connecting the entire UK to the Borderlands.

"Together with the proposed extension of the Borders rail line from Tweedbank to Carlisle and the UK Government’s Union Connectivity Review, to revitalise rail, road, sea and air links between all parts of the United Kingdom, these are exciting times for the Borderlands."

Cllr Stewart Young, Leader of Cumbria County Council and Borderlands Partnership Board Co-Chair, said: “We were delighted to welcome the Minister of State for Scotland to the Borderlands region today.

"As a key transport hub, Carlisle was a great place to talk about how the Deal will help better connect our region through improved transport links and better digital connections as well as improving connectivity within and outside of the Borderlands”

Cllr John Mallinson, Leader of Carlisle City Council, added: “The Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal will provide crucial support to our region’s recovery from the Covid-19 emergency and ensure we set in place strong foundations on which to deliver inclusive and sustainable growth.

“Carlisle will benefit from multi-million investment that will result in transformative schemes that will improve our infrastructure, transport links and connectivity.”

John Stevenson, MP for Carlisle said:“I am delighted that the Minister has visited Carlisle station and is seeing first-hand the start of the changes which the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal will bring to Carlisle and the surrounding area.

"This is a great example of central Government working with local Government to bring about real change. This is part of the levelling up agenda”