Economy Secretary visits Highlands for progress update on Investment
1st May 2018
The £315 million Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal is already benefiting the Highlands and supporting the area's drive for economic prosperity.
Economy Secretary Keith Brown was given an update on the current investment during a visit to Inverness to meet council officials and see some of the projects benefiting under the deal. These included the Raining Stairs affordable housing project and Science Skills Academy in the Highland Capital.
Regional partners in the Highlands estimate the funding could unlock up to an additional £800m from the private sector and play a key role in securing long term productivity and economic growth as the region seeks to position itself as a centre of digital opportunity.
Economy Secretary Keith Brown said:
"Our cities and their regions are the engines of our economy and the Scottish Government is committed to working with our cities to unlock investment and boost the Inverness region's potential. City Deals are one of our economic initiatives to stimulate growth and deliver infrastructure investment that will benefit both people and business.
"It has been extremely heartening to see the results of this investment today and the positive impact it is already having across the city. I look forward to continuing working with local partners to ensure both Inverness and the wider Highland region prosper, now and in the years to come."
Margaret Davidson, Leader of Highland Council said: “The Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal is already delivering real and meaningful benefits to the Highlands, with the promise of securing a sustainable economic future for the region through this valuable investment in skills, business development and innovation, digital connectivity, transport infrastructure, housing and tourism.
“We have seen the start of important housing projects, the roll-out of free wifi, the completion of the first stage of the West Link and the development of the Newton Rooms and other exciting innovation and life science projects. We have always recognised that it is the private sector that will grow our economy and that our role is to enable and facilitate that growth and this is very much what the City-Region Deal seeks to do."
Police in Lochaber can confirm that a 27-year-old man has been arrested in connection with alleged consumer protection offences in Fort William. It follows an investigation by Police Scotland and Highland Council Trading Standards, after a report was received this week of "bogus workmen" in Fort William and alleged fraudulent activity relating to charges for work carried out on a house in the town.
DETAILED analysis of the Scottish Government's funding settlement, which makes up the vast proportion of the Council's budget, has been carried out and the net result is that the Highland Council will see a reduction in its grant funding to provide the current level of services. This, together with the additional pressures equates to a £31.2M budget gap for 2019-20.
Highland Council Trading Standards have produced guidance on how to spot the signs of scams that target businesses and also remind businesses to inform their employees on what to look out for when dealing with unsolicited telephone calls, emails and texts. All businesses as well as non-profit organisations (such as charitable organisations) may spend a lot of time dealing with potential scammers.
The Highland Council has written to parents and carers of school transport pupils to inform them that D&E Coaches have recently transferred a number of Highland Council contracts to Stagecoach and some school transport routes are included. These changes are to take effect from the first day back after the school holidays, Monday 7th January 2019 and timetables have been supplied for the routes affected.
Twenty nine members of The Highland Council's Care and Learning team have celebrated their success in completing the Council's 15 month ‘Lead On’ programme. ‘Lead On’, is a programme designed to develop practitioners’ understanding of change leadership and apply this through a change initiative in their place of work.
Highland Councillors are looking forward beyond the current Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal and asking: "What next and where?". Following publication of the Deal's annual report, Leader of The Highland Council Cllr Margaret Davidson said: "A meeting will be convened in the New Year with Councillors who have a particular interest in the City-Region Deal to talk about where we can go next and what we can do.".
Work underway to determine Highland's Budget allocation. Commenting after the news received last night of Councils' individual allocations, from the Scottish Government’s draft Budget, Budget Leader Councillor Alister Mackinnon said: "Having received the details of our allocation just last night, it will take some time to work through the proposed settlement and do a detailed analysis.
THROUGHOUT the month of November, The Highland Council's Chief Executive and members of the budget team have met with staff, groups and communities across the length and breadth of the Highlands. These sessions were part of a budget engagement exercise which also included facebook chats, survey, leaflet, video, and a budget challenge to raise awareness of budget challenges and gather views and priorities.
The Highland Council is to carry out a public consultation on the implementation of a transient visitor levy in the New Year. During the Council's public engagement activity during November, a strong theme was support for raising income from tourism, including a tourist levy, which could support local infrastructure, as well as the tourism sector itself.
Members have agreed six priority commitments in a revised Council Programme at today's council meeting. The six themes within the Programme are: A Council that Champions the Highlands; A Place to Live; A place to Thrive; A place to Prosper; A Welcoming Place; and Your Highland Council These themes and the actions which the council has agreed to, reflect priorities which have emerged through the round of public engagement during November.
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