THE Scottish Council for Development & Industry (SCDI) are today welcoming the announcement that a £315m City Region Deal has been signed for Inverness and Highland.
Explains a spokesperson: “The Scottish Government has committed £135m of investment, the UK Government £53m and Highland Council and its regional partners will contribute £127m.
“This is an important step and the funding and agreement announced this morning can help to deliver the infrastructure and drive needed to be a catalyst for transformative change for the area.
“The creation of a north of Scotland Innovation Hub is welcome, with innovation being one of the key economic drivers – alongside productivity, internationalisation and infrastructure – identified as necessary for Scotland’s successful economic growth in SCDI’s recently published Blueprint* research report.”
The spokesperson adds: “We have seen decades of underinvestment in our infrastructure and SCDI hope that this agreement will see some of that change from economic drag to social and economic driver, including through improved digital and transport connectivity.
“With the planned Inverness East Link to connect the A9 with the A96, and the grade separating of the Longman interchange part of the new deal plans, these key infrastructure improvements should both address congestion and unlock new land for development.
The Scottish Courts have recently announced their intention to relocate from Inverness Castle and the Inverness & Highland City Region Deal will aim to provide funding support in order to make full use of that asset for the tourism sector.”
SCDI regional director for the Highlands & Islands, Fraser Grieve, said: “Today’s agreement is an important incentive towards greater collaboration and investment for the benefit of Inverness and the wider Highlands region.
“This package offers the opportunity for transformational change to be delivered that can drive the area’s competitiveness, address some of the key economic constraints, and provide some of the tools needed to improve productivity and strengthen economic resilience.
“The recently published SCDI Blueprint, ‘From Fragile To Agile’, report highlighted some of the key challenges and opportunities open to the Scottish economy over the coming decades, and looked closely at how we can address some of the structural challenges we face.
“The City Region Deals are an important step in decentralising some of the powers and providing some of the resource needed to harness our economic potential.
“Today’s welcome announcement of the Inverness & Highland City Region Deal is the start of a new phase in the city and wider region’s development and we must ensure that this investment delivers the changes needed in relation to skills, tourism, infrastructure and digital connectivity that will benefit the area for generations to come.”
Notes to editors:
SCDI (Scottish Council for Development & Industry) is Scotland’s leading independent economic development organisation working across the public, private and social economy sectors, representing 1,200 organisations including global corporate companies, SMEs, public sector bodies and educational institutions, professional associations and trade unions, faith groups, charitable and social economy sector organisations.
* The SCDI Blueprint Report ‘From Fragile to Agile’ can be accessed at this link:
For further information, please contact:
Fraser Grieve, regional director – Highlands & Islands, SCDI
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