The Borderlands initiative will receive £260 million of Government funding, the Chancellor has announced in his Spring Statement.

In the first of the big announcements in his address to the House of Commons, Philip Hammond revealed the huge sum to support Borderlands Growth Deal – which aims to transform the economy either side of the England-Scotland border.

The announcement came after the Scottish government announced an £85m funding package on Wednesday morning – bringing the total level of public funding to be channelled through the initiative to £345m.

The money is to be split across a variety of initiatives ranging from energy, digital, transport infrastructure, rural productivity, business support, skills, and promoting the region as a place to live, work and visit.

Cumbria, and the city of Carlisle in particular, is set to play a key role in the initiative, which brings together Carlisle City Council, Cumbria County Council, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Northumberland County Council and the Scottish Borders Council.

The Borderlands Partnership said the investment could mean thousands of new job opportunities, millions of extra tourists to the area, improved digital connectivity and unlocking investment in towns across the region generating a predicted £1.3bn return on the Governments’ investment.

Carlisle MP John Stevenson, appointed by the Prime Minister in 2018 as the 'champion' of the Borderlands growth deal in Westminster, was delighted with the chancellor's announcement today.

"It is another very significant investment into our region," he said.

"This is on top of the £100m pledged last month to the Carlisle southern relief road project.

"Carlisle and the region is really starting to move ahead which is welcome news for everyone who lives and works in the Borderlands.“

Leader of Carlisle City Council, councillor Colin Glover, stressed the important role of the city in the wider Borderlands initiative.

“All the Borderlands projects aim to support our local communities and could all result transformational change," he said.

"Carlisle is the beating heart of the Borderlands region and we look forward to seeing our city grow.”

A Borderlands Partnership spokesperson said they were "delighted" with the funding award, which comes after two years of collective effort between the councils and the two Governments either side of the border.

"It will be a real game changer for everyone who lives and works in the area," they said.

“Now we know how much we’re getting overall, we can start planning the detail to be able to deliver a range of projects across the region, all designed to boost productivity and to achieve inclusive growth.

“What is already clear is that the long-term benefits will reach all parts of the Borderlands. This deal will directly benefit 1.1m residents and will generate job opportunities as well as attracting extra tourists to our region each year.

“It will improve our productivity, help us to attract younger people to live and work in the region as well as improve the quality of life for our existing residents and communities.”

Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and The Border added: “This is an incredibly special part of the United Kingdom and now that the funding for the Borderlands Growth Deal has been secured, we can really start to tap into its potential.

"I’m particularly looking forward to seeing how investment in the area’s tourism and broadband will make a real difference to people’s lives.”

Lord Jim O'Neill, vice chairman of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, which seeks to promote an economic growth strategy for the north of England, also welcomed the chancellor's funding pledge.

"More than £260m of funding in the Spring Statement to help deliver the Borderlands deal is welcome to help unlock economic growth across the South of Scotland and the North of England.

"Thanks to the hard work of John Stevenson MP and many others, the money announced today will help to address the vast economic potential of the Borderlands, traditionally held back by geographical challenges and historic underfunding."

In addition to the six programme areas, there are also four place-based projects which include the Carlisle Station Gateway project; the redevelopment of Chapelcross former power station; Mountain Bike Innovation Centre; Berwick Theatre and Conference Centre and Carlisle Station Gateway and additional projects such as the Borders Railway extension.

The Government announcement is yet another significant boost to the north Cumbria region, with £100m pledged for Carlisle southern relief road, which will provide a crucial link to the St Cuthbert’s Garden Village, and the start of commercial flights from Carlisle Lake District Airport in July.

The Borderlands funding is also set to secure a £3m investment from Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership to transform the Citadel in Carlisle and further improvements to the outside of the city’s train station.

Carlisle City Council councillors were recently warned that they risked losing out on the additional funding if an announcement on the Borderlands Growth Deal was not firmed up by May.

However, it appears as if the funding has been secured, which will be used to develop the iconic building – home to Cumbria County Council’s headquarters, before it moved to purpose-built offices in Botchergate.

A new boutique hotel, restaurant and shops have been mooted as possible uses for it.