A £100 million investment in the future economic prosperity of Orkney, Shetland and the Outer Hebrides was agreed today, as representatives of the UK and Scottish governments joined the Leaders of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Orkney Islands Council, and Shetland Island Council to sign the Heads of Terms for the Islands Growth Deal.
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The agreement commits both governments to work collaboratively with Islands Deal partners to deliver a deal focused on: placing the islands at the forefront of the transition to net zero; supporting growth in key sectors of opportunity such as tourism, food and drink, space and creative industries; and, supporting thriving, sustainable communities.
The Islands Growth Deal will capitalise on the Islands’ unique assets with an investment of £50 million each from the Scottish and UK Governments and an anticipated £235 million from project partners. The 10-year programme of investment has the ambitious target of creating up to 1,300 jobs and tackling the depopulation concerns facing many parts of the 3 island archipelagos. Partners will now be working towards the development of Full Business Cases for approval by both Governments, with the anticipation of funding being approved and released from 2022/23 onwards.
Professor Neil Simco, Vice-Principal Research and Impact at the University of the Highlands and Islands said:
“I am delighted to welcome today’s signing of the Islands Growth Deal. It is an exciting and energising time for Scotland’s islands and the university partnership is proud to be a key delivery partner.
“Through the collective involvement of our colleges and research institutes in the development of several projects being supported through this deal, we will strengthen our ability to contribute to the sustainable development of the islands in new and innovate ways.