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Sealing the deal

Published: 30 Jan 2017 12:30
Part of:
Economy

Inverness and Highland City Region Deal is signed.

The £315 million Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal was formally signed today, sealing the Deal for the release of funding for a number of business cases.

The Heads of Terms document for the Deal, worth £315 million, was signed in March 2016, paving the way for business cases to be submitted to the UK and Scottish Governments for approval.

The City-Region Deal sets out the areas where the Scottish Government will commit investment of up to £135m and the UK Government will commit investment of up to £53.1m, which, together with £127m of further investment by the Council and partners, will deliver a step change in digital connectivity, digital healthcare, skills, innovation and infrastructure.

The impact of the Deal on Inverness and the wider Highland region will be significant in securing the long term productivity and economic growth of the region and position it as a region of digital opportunity. Regional partners estimate that the City-Region Deal funding of £315m could unlock up to an additional £800 million of investment by the private sector.

The Deal was signed by Councillor Margaret Davidson, Leader of the Highland Council, Keith Brown Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, The Scottish Government, and UK Government Minister Andrew Dunlop. 

Mr Brown said:

“The signing of the Inverness City Region Deal shows our clear and strong commitment to investing in Inverness and the wider Highlands region, and the crucial contribution they make to Scotland’s economic growth.

“Our £135 million investment will improve access to jobs, education and healthcare which will deliver significant long-term benefits for the city, region and Scotland as a whole. This investment reinforces the Scottish Government’s commitment to bringing economic prosperity to all parts of Scotland.

“It’s fantastic to see the first tangible results of Scottish Government investment which will help to address the shortage of skills related to science, technology, engineering and maths/digital through the Science Skills Academy.”

UK Government Minister Andrew Dunlop said:

“City Region Deals are a fantastic example of the UK and Scottish governments working together alongside the Highland Council and local partners to improve communities and drive economic growth.

“City Region Deals are all about unlocking the economic opportunities for a region and the UK Government is proud to play its part in the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal by investing more than £50 million.

“That’s why I’m delighted to be in the Highlands for the signing of the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal which I am sure will have a transformative impact on the regional economy.”

Leader of the Highland Council, Margaret Davidson said:

“Today’s signing of the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal marks the start of turning our ambition into reality, of delivering real and meaningful benefits to the Highlands. This 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.

“With the formal signing of the City Region Deal, the business community now have long term certainly over public sector investment and can now make long term investment decisions in Inverness and across the Highlands.

“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.

“I am delighted that we have now secured Government approval for the first three business cases worth over £12m of Government funding - the Science Skills Academy STEMD, University of the Highlands and Islands School of Health, Social Care and Life Sciences and Longman Land Remediation.”

The signing took place at the premises of Carbon Dynamic, Invergordon, a partner in a ground-breaking assisted living scheme, led by Albyn Housing Society.

Built of modular construction, by Carbon Dynamic, the ‘fit home’ will host various levels of sensoring equipment enabling the capture of data and associated predictive health analytics which could potentially help prevent episodes or events leading to ill health. It will also include flexible spaces and walls for storing medical equipment.

The unique collaboration, which also includes NHS Highland, will use the latest digital technology to enable vulnerable people to live independently in their communities for longer as well as preventing hospital admissions and enabling early hospital discharge. An outline business case is currently under review as part of the City-Region Deal.

The release of £12.25 million of Scottish and UK Government funding was also announced today for three approved business cases which will allow the project work to begin on the Science Skills Academy STEMD, the UHI School of Health, Social Care and Life Sciences and on Land Remediation in Inverness. The investment will begin with the release of over a quarter of a million pounds in this financial year.

Background

Science Skills Academy STEMD - £3 million has been approved by the Scottish Government for the business case of the Science Skills Academy (SSA).

The project is being led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to help engage more young people in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths/digital skills (STEM/D), in partnership with Highland Council, the University of the Highlands and Islands, Skills Development Scotland, and others.

More information is available at: https://www.highland.gov.uk/cityregiondeal