Northern Isles representatives, Alistair Carmichael MP, Beatrice Wishart MSP and Liam McArthur MSP, have today welcomed the announcement of a £100m funding agreement for the Islands Growth Deal, covering both the Northern Isles and the Western Isles and funded equally between the UK and Scottish governments.
The deal represents an award of almost three-times the per capita figure based on other Scottish growth deals. Discussions will now continue towards agreeing a Heads of Terms later this year, along with more detail on the transformational projects which will be funded.
Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael said:
“I am glad that this deal has finally been agreed at a level of funding that all sides are happy with.
“Many times in recent years I have discussed with the Scottish Secretary and Treasury ministers the importance of a package for the isles that was something more than a crude per head calculation. Having now secured a deal that it approximately three times the regular rate per head of population I am delighted that this message has got through. Particular congratulations should go to the councillors and officials who have worked long and hard on this. It is a testament to their efforts that we have such a robust deal today.
“The impact of the pandemic reminds us that this is no time to be complacent. We have an excellent opportunity now to leverage this deal as part of a wider renewal of development and growth in the isles. This is not the end but the beginning of our efforts.”
Shetland MSP, Beatrice Wishart said:
“This is very welcome news. This Islands Deal has the potential to be transformational for our island communities. I look forward to speedy progress to make exciting opportunities a reality. The deal was needed long before Covid-19 struck to ensure sustainability of our island groups and so they can thrive well into the future.”
Orkney MSP, Liam McArthur added:
“I’m pleased that both the UK and Scottish Governments have agreed to provide this substantial level of funding.
“It is certainly welcome progress toward securing an Islands Deal that could deliver real long term economic and social benefits for our island communities.
“It not only creates opportunities for investment in a number of priority areas, but also provides some certainty for the future of our islands during what has been a challenging few months.”