PLANS to accelerate the UK Government's contribution to Argyll and Bute's £70 million 'rural growth deal' have been welcomed by a Helensburgh MSP.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak's Budget this week includes a commitment to spending the £25 million Westminster government contribution over 10 years, rather than 15.

Mr Sunak had previously announced that the UK Government would invest an additional £800,000 a year from 2022-23 onwards into the initiative over 10 years.

The Scottish Government has also pledged £25 million to the growth deal for the area, while Argyll and Bute Council and its community planning partners will contribute £20 million.

READ MORE: £70m project aimed at turning round Argyll and Bute's economy is signed and sealed

Among the projects earmarked for investment as part of the funding package is the setting-up of a “Clyde engineering and innovation cluster”, linked to the expansion of the Royal Navy base at Faslane and Coulport, by addressing a lack of commercial premises in the Helensburgh and Lomond area for supply services.

Mr Sunak's Conservative colleague Maurice Corry MSP, who represents the West Scotland region and lives in Helensburgh, said: "The Chancellor’s Budget confirms yet again that he will be supporting everyone that needs it as we continue to fight the pandemic, and then rebuild our communities.

“The acceleration of the Argyll Growth Deal is hugely welcome and will help to create jobs and bring major investment to this area over a quicker period."

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