£315 million package confirmed
Inverness City Deal puts roads and research on agenda
The 10-year initiative, which is expected to leverage up to three times as much in private backing, was confirmed this morning and will comprise £135m from the Scottish Government, £127m from Highland Council and £53m from the UK Government.
Funding will be targeted towards improving the region’s transport and digital connectivity networks, fostering innovation of high growth businesses through the creation of a Northern Scotland Innovation Hub, promoting tourism and delivery of local housing and assisted living schemes.
- Investment in the trunk road network to deliver the A9/96 Link Road improvement and upgrade the Longman interchange to improve congestion and accessibility to Inverness
- Investment in Inverness Castle to support tourism and the regional economy
- 6,000 homes over 20 years of which, 1,800 are to be affordable homes
- Support for the commercialisation of new medical products and technologies at the new multi-disciplinary centre for clinical research and teaching on the UHI campus.
Infrastructure Secretary Keith Brown (pictured) said: “This deal provides an opportunity to enhance and accelerate the delivery of long-term aspirations held by the Scottish Government and The Highland Council, the impact of which could help increase the population, create thousands of jobs and help to up-skill the local labour market.”
Liz Cameron, chief executive and director, Scottish Chambers of Commerce, described it as “a great step forward to unlocking the economic potential of the north and boosting jobs in the area.”
Stewart Nicol, chief executive, Inverness Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is a momentous announcement for the city of Inverness and the wider Highland region.
“The considerable funding that will come from the City Deal has the potential to significantly transform the city and region and improve the business environment and local economy for many years to come. The leverage of additional revenues over coming years will help secure jobs throughout the region across many sectors.”
SCDI regional director for the Highlands & Islands, Fraser Grieve said the 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,” he said.
He added that the City Region Deals are an important step in decentralising powers.