'Game-changing' islands growth deal worth up to £393m signed

A £100m deal to promote “game-changing” economic prosperity in Orkney, Shetland and the Outer Hebrides has...

‘Game-changing’ Orkney, Shetland and Outer Hebrides growth deal worth up to £393m signed iStock

A £100m deal to promote “game-changing” economic prosperity in Orkney, Shetland and the Outer Hebrides has been inked as part of an agreement between the Scottish Government and local councils.

The Islands Growth deal will create around 1,300 jobs, attracting a further £393m over a ten-year period after it is signed in Orkney on Friday afternoon.

The deal – jointly funded by the Scottish and UK Governments – was developed by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Shetland Islands Council and Orkney Islands Council, alongside local business and academic leaders and will target development in tourism, infrastructure, innovation, energy and skills.

It will invest in 16 projects themed around “low carbon, supporting growth and future industries and thriving sustainable communities”.

The deal includes funding for Orkney’s historic standing stones site. (Image: iStock).

They include funding for University of the Highlands and Island’s campuses in Shetland and the Outer Hebrides as well as the Islands Centre for Net Zero, which will be based at the Orkney Research and Innovation Campus in Stromness.

The Orkney World Heritage Gateway, which covers the islands’ historic Neolithic standing stones site, and the St Kilda Trail will also receive investment as part of the agreement.

Scottish Government business minister Ivan McKee said the deal will help to “maximise the islands’ potential as places to live and work”.

“This £50m Scottish Government investment will support the transition to renewable energy sources – including equipping the workforce with new skills – and trial emissions reduction initiatives on islands, ” he said.

“It will drive innovation in key space, food and drink and creative industries sectors; help develop significant tourism and cultural attractions and expand education provision.

“We are determined that our islands should be attractive places to live and work and are able to maximise their contribution to Scotland’s sustainable economic transformation.”   

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