More than £300 million of public money will be provided to Inverness as part of a UK City Deal.
It aims to unlock a further £800 million of private money for the city and the surrounding region.
The UK City Deal will invest money in projects designed to help the economic growth of Inverness and the Highlands, and is expected to create more than 3,000 jobs over the next two decades.
UK Government Minister Andrew Dunlop was in Inverness today to announce details of the UK City Deal agreement which includes money from the UK Government, Scottish Government, Highland Council, the University of the Highlands and Islands and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
City Deals were created by the UK Government as a way to provide UK cities with the power and resources to unlock the economic potential of their city.
As part of the Inverness City Deal the UK Government is providing £53.1 million of new money for spending on areas that are the reserved responsibility of the UK Government. These include:
Enabling the Highland area to be the most digitally connected rural region in Europe by investing into extended digital coverage, including superfast broadband and mobile 4G connectivity across the Highlands region.
Supporting a package of new innovation measures that builds on existing academic and industry expertise in Inverness, as well as business support networks across the Highlands. This will include exploring ways to support a multi-disciplinary centre focused on the commercialisation of new medical products and technologies, and a Northern Scotland Innovation Hub.
Working to ensure business-friendly air routes to international hubs and improving access to London.
Speaking in Inverness, Scotland Office Minister Andrew Dunlop said:
This UK City Deal has the potential to transform the economy of Inverness and the Highlands. City Deals are all about unlocking the economic opportunities for a city and this deal could leverage in private money that makes the total package for Inverness something nearer to £1 billion. This is a very exciting time for the city and the region.
The UK Government is proud to play its part by investing more than £50 million of new money in reserved areas. That money will be spent on areas such digital connectivity projects and to support the effort to provide greater air connections from Inverness.
In my view, the Inverness deal also marks a step change in closer working between the UK and Scottish Governments. Both governments have pulled together to deliver the best possible deal for Inverness, and that is what people in the city expect of their two governments.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Greg Hands said:
I am delighted to announce a landmark city deal with Inverness worth more than £300 million – the third of its kind in Scotland.
This historic deal is expected to create more than 3,000 jobs and leverage £1 billion of private sector investment by handing real power to local decision-makers, who are best-placed to ensure the Scottish economy is fit for the future.
It’s all part of our plan to drive forward the devolution revolution and empower local leaders across the UK.
Communities Secretary Greg Clark said:
Today’s historic deal offers a significant economic boost for the people of Inverness, ensuring their city can compete nationally and internationally, long into the future.
Thanks to more than £300 million of Government investment, Inverness and the Highlands will benefit from superfast broadband which will enable it to be the most digitally-connected rural region in Europe, alongside a wider package of measures to support business growth across the area.
These measures will mean the area benefits from strong private sector investment, to help deliver thousands of jobs over the next two decades.
Published: 22 March 2016