City-Region Deal - significant long term benefits anticipated
In response to a call for evidence on the impact of city-region deals in Scotland, by a Scottish Parliament Committee, Highland Council Director of Development and Infrastructure, Stuart Black said:
“It is very early days to assess the impact of the City-Region Deal, however, it is anticipated that the impact of the Deal on Inverness and the wider Highland region will be significant in securing the long term productivity and economic growth of the region and position it as a region of digital opportunity. Regional partners estimate that the City-Region Deal funding of £315m could unlock up to an additional £800 million of investment by the private sector.
“The £315 million Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal was formally signed on 30 January in Invergordon, preparing for the release of funding for a number of business cases which have been submitted.
“The first tranche of £3 million of City-Region Deal money was used in 2016-17 to support the development of the Castle Viewpoint and to install free city-wiFi in the centre of Inverness. Ness WiFi will be rolled out across the city centre this summer.
“The release of £12.25 million of Scottish and UK Government funding was also announced on 30 January 2017 for three approved business cases which will allow the project work to begin on the Science Skills Academy STEMD, the University of the Highlands and Islands School of Health, Social Care and Life Sciences, and on Land Remediation in Inverness.”
“Further funding announcements on key business cases are expected over the next few weeks and months.”
The City-Region Deal sets out the areas where the Scottish Government will commit investment of up to £135m and the UK Government will commit investment of up to £53.1m, which, together with £127m of further investment by the Council and partners, will deliver a step change in digital connectivity, digital healthcare, skills, innovation and infrastructure.