Northern and Western Isles to benefit from £100m funding

The Scottish and UK Governments will each provide £50m to boost the economy of the islands.

Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles are to receive £100m of investment as part of a new growth deal.

The Scottish and UK Governments will each provide £50m to boost the economy of the islands, which will be the last part of Scotland to receive cash under the growth deals.

The Scottish Government said its investment will be made over the next 10 years.

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said the funding will help the islands to recover from the pandemic and improve economic growth, including in the creation of tourist destinations and low-carbon energy.

He said: “This money will work to improve the quality of life for island communities, alongside the Scottish Government National Islands Plan we introduced to the Scottish Parliament at the end of 2019.

“This significant investment will support islanders’ ambitions to create world-class visitor destinations, lead the way to a low-carbon future, support growth and future industries and help the communities thrive by attracting and retaining young talent, driving inclusive and sustainable economic growth and delivering long lasting benefits for people living across the three island authority areas.

“It is important that all deals take account of the unprecedented economic challenges created by coronavirus and we are working with partners to understand how best to move forward and respond to current circumstances.”

In total, £1.8bn has been invested by the Scottish Government in city region and growth deals in recent years, with the UK Government offering in excess of £1.5bn.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “The city region and growth deals will be crucial to our economic recovery from coronavirus.

“Today’s announcement means that every corner of Scotland will benefit from these and takes the UK Government’s investment in growth deals across Scotland to more than £1.5bn.”

He added: “These deals are just part of the unprecedented support that the UK Government is providing to people and businesses in Scotland during this time.

“We have supported 900,000 jobs in Scotland with our furlough and self-employed schemes, including 11,600 across the islands.

“We look forward to working with our partners across the islands and the devolved administration in Scotland to develop innovative and effective proposals.”

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