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City deal signed for Inverness

Words: Laura Edgar

The £315 million Inverness City Region Deal has been formally signed by UK and Scottish Government ministers and the Highland Council.

The deal’s heads of terms document was signed in March 2016.

It will see the Scottish Government commit up to £135 million worth of investment and the UK Government will invest up to £53.1 million. The council and its partners will commit £127 million.

The money aims to deliver a “step change” in digital connectivity, digital health care, skills, innovation and infrastructure, said the Scottish Government.

Regional partners suggest that the £315 million funding could unlock up to an additional £800 million of private sector investment.

Margaret Davidson, leader of the Highland Council, Keith Brown, Scottish cabinet secretary for the economy, jobs and fair work, and UK Government minister Andrew Dunlop, signed the deal yesterday (30 January) in Invergordon.

Davidson, leader of the Highland Council, said the deal “aims to secure the sustainable economic future of Inverness and the Highlands, through investing in skills, business development and innovation, digital connectivity, transport infrastructure, housing and tourism”.

“The Inverness and Highland City Region Deal was seen as hugely important for the Highlands, however, given the economic challenges and uncertainty that we face from a number of quarters, I would suggest that the City Region Deal has never been as important to us in helping to sustain and develop our economy.”

The formal signing of the deal means the business community has long-term certainty over public sector investment and can make long term investment decisions in Inverness and across the Highlands, added Davidson.

“We have always recognised that it is the private sector that will grow our economy and that our role is to enable and facilitate that growth and this is very much what the City-Region Deal seeks to do. The key win for us will be the private sector leverage that will be unlocked which offers significant growth potential for the region.”

Brown said the Scottish Government’s £135 million investment would improve access to jobs, education and healthcare, which will deliver “significant” long-term benefits for the city, region and Scotland as a whole.

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