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."
The public is being asked for its views on proposals by The Highland Council to review the maximum level of charges for the hire of taxis or private hire cars fitted with taxi meters operating under licence of The Highland Council. The Council has a statutory duty in terms of Section 17 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 to review its scales for the fares and other taxi related charges every 18 months.
A report published today by the local authority spending watchdog looks at how councils are using the estimated 130 ALEOs (arms-length external organisations) in Scotland, which have an annual spend of more than £1.3 billion, and the impact they are making. ALEOs can take many forms - such as companies, community organisations or charities.
Members of The Highland Council's Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee have given their backing to new shop front guidance aimed at ensuring high quality designs for traditional, replacement and new shopfronts throughout the Highlands. The Guidance sets out general principles for repair, reinstatement and replacement of shopfronts, as well as general principles for new shopfronts in new development.
Councillor Matthew Reiss, who represents the Thurso and Northwest Caithness Ward, has been elected as Chairman of The Highland Council's Caithness Committee. He takes over from Councillor Donnie Mackay who has held the role since June 2017.
Members of the Caithness Committee have on Wednesday 16th May 2018 approved the Council's 2018/19 structural maintenance programmes for roads in the area for the coming year which reflects both the strategic network and the importance attached to local roads by rural communities. The revenue budget for road maintenance activities in Caithness for 18/19 is £1.214M of which £0.539M is allocated for winter maintenance with a further capital budget of £0.785M The Highland Council's allocation to areas for structural road maintenance is based on the results of the annual Scottish Road Maintenance Condition Survey, safety inspections, service inspections and input from local members.
The Highland Council remains on track to deliver much-needed affordable homes across the Highlands as recent figures produced show all new home completions in Highland are on the up. In its Strategic Housing Plan 2018-2023 the Council has a pledge to approve a minimum of 500 units each year of which 70% will be for affordable rent and 30% for low cost home ownership.
AVIEMORE now has access to free WIFI in and around the centre of the town thanks to a project led by the Highland Council and funded by the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal. The free WiFi, called "High-Fi", is aimed at stimulating economic growth and will increase digital inclusion across the Highlands.
The Highland Council has considered Audit Scotland's report on Local Government in Scotland, Challenges & Performance 2018. Audit Scotland recognises that councils will continue to face difficult decisions with limited resources.
The work of the Redesign Board has been considered by Council today. The Redesign Board is fundamentally changing the way the council does things.
The annual Local Scrutiny Plan (LSP) 2018/19 for Highland Council was considered by Council today (10 May 2018). The plan is based on a shared risk assessment undertaken by representatives of all the scrutiny bodies who engage with the council and shows no additional scrutiny is required of the Council during 2018/19.
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