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."
Following a pre-planning drop-in session at the end of September 2018, The Highland Council has given the public a further 28 days to share their views and comment on the proposal for a new Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) at the Longman landfill site in Inverness. The public can now visit the Council's website to find out more about the MRF and to share their views on the proposal.
Dr James Vance, Head Teacher at Culloden Academy has been appointed as interim Head of Education Services with The Highland Council's Care and Learning Service. Dr Vance, who starts his new employment in January 2019, will be based at the Council's headquarters on Glenurquhart Road, Inverness.
The Highland Council has submitted a planning application for a low head hydroelectric development at the Torvean Weir on the River Ness at land 430m south west of Highland Rugby Club, on Bught Road, Inverness Using an Archimedes screw the hydroelectric scheme will have a generating capacity of up to 100kW and an average annual renewable energy output of approximately 600,000 kWh per annum. The renewable energy generated will return an income to the Council through the Feed in Tariff mechanism and be connected to the local Archive Centre and leisure centre.
The Highland Council is carrying out the formal review of its Polling Districts and Places. This review is required in terms of the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 as all polling districts and polling places should be reviewed at least every four years.
Joint operation identifies poor standards of food safety and staff living accommodation. Highland Council Environmental Health Officers were required to take formal enforcement action regarding poor standards of food safety during a recent multi-agency operation led by Immigration Enforcement.
The Scottish Government's announcement of a consultation on the introduction of a visitor levy ("tourist tax") has been welcomed by The Highland Council. Convener Bill Lobban recently gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament's Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee, where he emphasised the importance of tourism to the Highlands.
The Highland Council has appointed a new Chief Executive. The successful candidate is Donna Manson, currently Service Director for Children and Young People in the Scottish Borders.
Local services throughout Scotland could be plunged into crisis after - UNISON, Unite and the GMB - wrote to COSLA to say they will recommend their members reject their revised pay offer when they consult them in the coming weeks. The revised pay offer, made by COSLA on 6th September 2018, was a 3% increase for all local government workers earning up to £80,000, but the trade unions are angry that this is below inflation and does not improve low pay.
Members have discussed the consultation and proposed response to a review of the structure of the Scottish Local Government Pension Scheme. The Highland Council Pension Fund is one of eleven constituent funds of the Scottish Local Government Pension Scheme.
The Highland Council has agreed to plan for a potential budget gap of £66.7 million over the next three years. It was agreed by Members in June to develop plans for a multi-year budget for the next 3 financial years (2019-22) to meet the challenge of a potential funding gap dependent on a wide range of variables.
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