A furious North Ayrshire Councillor has accused the local authority of cutting back on their part of the Ayrshire Growth Deal with inflation and supply chain issues emerging in the construction industry.

Irvine Councillor Robert Foster said: “Projects within the Ayrshire Growth Deal are being scaled back at an alarming rate due to the UK and Scottish Government’s response to the current cost crisis.

“Both governments’ insistence that their financial contribution to the Growth Deal is a fixed sum means all the risk lies with the three Ayrshire Councils. With rising costs, the councils face two options – invest more of their own money into the projects or cut them back.

“The latter is what’s happened with the project to construct new business space at i3 in Irvine, with over a third of the proposed business space already cut.

“Unless the UK and Scottish Governments recognise that costs are increasing and provide additional funding, then the potential for the Ayrshire Growth Deal to transform the regional economy will be significantly watered down, leaving Ayrshire’s economy and its people behind once again.”

Cabinet Member and Ardrossan Councillor Tony Gurney said:”There is an inflation crisis in the county that applies to everyone and it is not just cost of living for people but  it’s for businesses and councils.

“It’s quite right that a fixed project where the costs are going up can only deliver less.

“Can I suggest to him that when his group signed the deal it was something they built into it.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said “The Scottish Government committed to invest £103 million in the Ayrshire Growth Deal, matched by the UK Government and with contributions from regional partners, the overall Deal investment reaches £251 million across 17 transformative projects.

 “This commitment remains in place, and the Scottish Government will continue to work alongside regional partners as they develop innovative approaches to ensuring all projects are delivered, bringing benefits to the region, despite the challenging circumstances brought about by the cost crisis.

“We are investing in regions and communities across Scotland to create jobs and deliver inclusive economic growth.”

A UK Government spokesperson said:“The UK Government is investing £103 million in a 10-year programme that is expected to bring in £300m of ‘additional private-sector investment and 7,000 new jobs across Ayrshire. We are working closely with the Scottish Government and regional partners on all the projects to maximise the benefit to local communities.”