The vision behind the Inverness City-Region Deal to position Inverness and the Highlands as a region of digital opportunity, is set to become a reality as the deal is signed between the UK and Scottish Government’s and The Highland Council in Inverness.
The City-Region deal contains a number of proposals under three broad headings; a growing economy, a skilled economy and an enabled economy.
UK and Scottish Government funding of over £188 million together with £127 millon of further investment by the Council and public partners will deliver a step change in digital connectivity, digital healthcare, skills, business development and infrastructure.
UK and Scottish Government and Highland investment will over the lifetime of the deal will lever in around £1billion of investment.
The Highland Council has worked closely with Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the University of the Highlands and Islands to develop these proposals and with the Inverness Chamber of Commerce and the Scottish Council for Development and Industry.
Leader of The Highland Council, Councillor Margaret Davidson warmly welcomed the announcement which seals the deal after two years of background work and negotiations. She said:
“The city of Inverness and the wider Highlands offers a unique and wonderful environment to live, work, study and visit and is a globally recognised location. This Deal will make a significant contribution to the long term productivity and economic growth of our area by promoting it as the best digitally connected rural region in Europe. Effective broadband and mobile coverage is essential so that businesses can fully exploit commercial opportunities and international markets.
The majority of the businesses in the Highlands are small and medium businesses and this deal will enable them to expand and develop, as well as attracting new high skill, high value businesses to the area. The Deal also focuses on the attraction and retention of young people in a region which has tended to see out-migration to other areas and countries. The development and infrastructure which will result from the Deal will provide hundreds of job opportunities and greatly improve the supporting infrastructure to grow business.
This Deal will provide a step change in terms of providing the opportunity to enhance and accelerate the delivery of the long term aspirations for Inverness and the wider region. I am grateful to everyone who has worked so hard to achieve this very positive outcome for the people of the Highlands.”