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Islands Growth Deal Signed

The Islands Growth Deal was signed on 20th of January 2023 in Kirkwall Orkney. The Growth Deal  between UK Government, Scottish Government, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Shetland Islands Council, and Orkney Islands Council hopes to result in up to 1,300 jobs and £393 million of investment, shared across the 3 Islands Authorities over a ten year period.

Leader of Orkney Islands Council Councillor James Stockan, said:

“The signing of this important document today in Orkney marks another significant milestone in our collaborative journey and future vision for our three island areas.

“We have worked together to successfully achieve an impactful growth deal from our governments in both London and Edinburgh that will help secure a better future for us all. Not only does the agreement recognise all our unique challenges faced as island areas, but also the strength of our assets and opportunities that we offer.”

The investment covers a 10 year period with £50million from the UK Government, £50million from the Scottish Government and is hoped to  attract further investment of up to £293 million in match funding.

16 projects will be supported through the funding.

Ivan McKee, Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise in the Scottish Government said:

 “This Growth Deal will be a game-changing initiative for our islands – enabling sustainable economic growth and delivering new and internationally significant port infrastructure that will play an important role in achieving net zero targets.

“This £50 million Scottish Government investment will support the transition to renewable energy sources – including equipping the workforce with new skills – and trial emissions reduction initiatives on islands. It will drive innovation in key space, food and drink and creative industries sectors; help develop significant tourism and cultural attractions and expand education provision.

“We are determined that our islands should be attractive places to live and work and are able to maximise their contribution to Scotland’s sustainable economic transformation.”

The allocation of the £50million from the UK Government will be shared over the 10 year period as follows:

  • £16m for Islands Centre for Net Zero
  • £11m for Outer Hebrides Energy Hub
  • £2.6m for Creative Islands Wellbeing
  • £4m for Outer Hebrides Destination Development
  • £1m for Orkney World Heritage Gateway
  • £1m for Orkney Vertical Farm
  • £4.4m for Shell-volution
  • £1.5m for TalEntEd Islands
  • £8m for Orkney Research and Innovation Campus

Commenting on behalf of the UK Government, Lord Offal of Garvel, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State to the Scotland Office, said:

“This deal is packed with a broad range of high-impact projects, whether it’s leading the transition to net zero or developing ‘must-visit’ destinations such as the St Kilda trail.”

Councillors across the 3 Islands Authorities are excited about the investment with Councillor Paul Steele, Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, describing it as ‘milestone’ in creating jobs and Shetland’s Council Leader Councillor Emma Macdonald saying that the projects funded are ‘vital’.

See also: Orkney Fails In Bid For Freeport Status