The Cambuslang-based firm behind the Bearsden Community Hub and Pitlochry Dam Visitor Centre has been named to help take forward Edinburgh's £1.3bn Granton Waterfront regeneration.

The first phase of housing for the development was given the go-ahead by councillors in Edinburgh on Thursday in a move expected to lead the way in sustainable development as part of the city's commitment to be net zero carbon by 2030.

City of Edinburgh Council said a £1.5m contract will now be awarded to CCG (Scotland) Ltd to take forward designs for planning approval for an affordable housing development to include around 450 high quality homes, following agreement by the council’s policy and sustainability committee.

Over the coming months the council will be engaging with the community to develop the designs for the detailed planning application.

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As part of this early programme of works for Granton Waterfront,  the Council is planning to refurbish the Granton Station building, an Edwardian former railway station, into a modern business space and is exploring the potential to light the area’s former gasholder in a joint project with Edinburgh College, turning the latter into a focal point for the city.

The wider proposals will create one of Europe’s largest coastal city parks linking Granton Harbour to Cramond and Lauriston Castle, reconnecting the city with its waterfront and providing the opportunity for residents and visitors to enjoy spectacular views across the Forth while experiencing enhanced leisure and outdoor activity.

The plan is also set to deliver on exemplar urban design centred around climate resilience, leading the way in future sustainable development and growing the economy in an inclusive way.

The proposals will bring around 3,500 new homes of which at least 35% will be affordable, a school, medical centre, creative and commercial space, new cycling and walking routes and enhanced sustainable transport connections with the city, making a significant contribution to Edinburgh’s target to become a net zero carbon city by 2030.

With an overall gross development value of around £1.3bn, the council is committed to investing around £196m to accelerate the regeneration, attracting significant public and private sector funding to deliver the vision.

Calum Murray, director of CCG, said: "The City of Edinburgh Council is to be congratulated for the support it has afforded the construction sector during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"By progressing with the Western Villages project they are helping to build essential economic resilience and mitigate the worst effects of the pandemic for key stakeholders and the supply chain.

"In so doing the city is also sustaining the delivery of necessary affordable housing which will deliver on its low-carbon objectives. CCG(Scotland) Ltd is delighted to be in the vanguard of this significant regeneration initiative."

Adam McVey, council leader, said: "As we start the recovery from this pandemic this development is a fantastic start to building the homes our residents need. Our waterfront development significantly contributes towards our shared goal of a better and more sustainable Edinburgh together so it’s great news that the first phase of this vibrant new neighbourhood for Edinburgh is now going ahead.

"We’re absolutely committed to reaching our target to build 20,000 affordable homes in the city as well as investing £2bn in new Council homes over the next decade. We’re also committed to becoming a net zero carbon city by 2030 and Granton Waterfront will contribute greatly to all of these goals."

A new manufacturing institute based near Glasgow Airport has been given £20 million in extra funding by the Scottish Government to help the sector after the coronavirus crisis.

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop announced the cash for the University of Strathclyde's National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS), which is due to begin construction later this year.

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She said it will help Scottish companies with "cutting edge" research into new techniques.

While manufacturing cannot fully restart until phase two of the Scottish Government's exit from lockdown, Ms Hyslop encouraged companies to begin preparing.

A total of £75 million has been invested in the NMIS in Renfrewshire, while a £15.8 million "advanced manufacturing challenge fund" was also announced to encourage innovation.

It will take 18 months to build the NMIS, with the project supporting 200 jobs.
The centre will house a "fully digitalised factory of the future", as well as a skills academy.

The Economy Secretary said: "Like many parts of the economy, manufacturing has been adversely affected by the impact of coronavirus.

"But the crisis has also demonstrated why we need a strong manufacturing sector, with many companies contributing to the national effort by repurposing or scaling-up their activity to supply vital equipment to health and social care.

"The Scottish Government is working with our partners to create a successful, vibrant and diverse manufacturing sector.

"The National Manufacturing Institute and the advancing manufacturing challenge fund both form a key part of that, helping companies across Scotland to develop skills, perfect the latest techniques and push forward with cutting edge research."

Morrison Construction has been awarded the £42 million contract to build the centre.

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, principal of the University of Strathclyde, said: "We are making great strides towards creating the future of advanced manufacturing in Scotland, applying leading research capabilities to drive industrial innovation and supporting the country's talented manufacturing and engineering sector."

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has told employers they will need to contribute to their furloughed workers' salaries after August. 

It comes after as the Government admitted the scheme cannot run "indefinitely".

Mr Sunak used the daily Downing Street press conference to outline changes to the job retention scheme, which has so far covered the wages of 8.4 million staff unable to work during lockdown, costing £15 billion.

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Ministers have said they will extend the scheme covering 80% of workers' salaries up to £2,500 per month until the end of October, with employers expected to make a contribution.

The Treasury is asking employers to contribute around 20% of wages, as well as National Insurance and pension contributions from August.

He said of furlough "I believe it has made a real difference". He said it is a "modest contribution".

He said: "In September taxpayers will pay 70% of the furlough grant with employers contributing 10%. In October taxpayers will pay 60% and employers will contribute 20%. Then after eight months ... the scheme will close."

Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce said: "Businesses are mindful that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has cost billions and the pot of money to support employers and the economy is not unlimited.  

“The big challenge for Scottish businesses is that the UK government’s new tapered approach to the furlough scheme is not aligned with the Scottish Government’s roadmap out of lockdown. This misalignment will affect crucial areas of the economy such as tourism which are forced to close for longer.

“Before tapering hits, we need to ensure all sectors of our economy are able to generate trade so they are able to pay employees. Currently there is still a lack of clarity for businesses in Scotland over when they can re-open. We urge the chancellor to adopt measures to ensure that businesses facing ruin as the furlough scheme tapers aren’t forced to fall at the last hurdle.’’

Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said: "The Government’s support throughout the lockdown so far has been a lifeline for businesses, employees and the self-employed. The changes announced will help ensure the schemes stay effective as we begin a cautious recovery. 

“Introducing part-time furloughing as more stores and factories start to open will help employees to return to work gradually and safely. Many more businesses will feel supported during this vital restart phase."