Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan MSP has welcomed to announcement of the long-awaited Growth Deal for the Islands.

The £50m sum allocated by the UK Government will be match-funded by the Scottish Government. The Islands Deal is the latest in a series of growth deals awarded to cities and regions across Scotland and will benefit Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Orkney and Shetland.

Growth Deals are agreements between the Scottish Government, the UK Government and local government designed to bring about long-term strategic approaches to improving regional economies.

The cross-sectoral investment will go towards earmarked projects including agriculture, destination development, renewable energy and Spaceport 1, likely incorporating broader themes such as connectivity, housing and healthy ageing. Joint-island projects in the creative industries and wellbeing sectors will also benefit.

Alasdair Allan MSP commented:

“The Islands Deal is an exceptional and long-awaited chance to invest in transformational projects in Scotland’s islands. The Scottish Government has always indicated it would match fund the sum made available by the UK Government. Now that the UK has identified a figure, the Scottish Government has been able to do the same. With each side contributing £50m, we now have a chance to start investing this in the kind of projects that the Islands need more than ever at this difficult time as we come out of lockdown. The money will go to projects in the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland.

“The Comhairle has put together a list of potential projects with which it made its funding bid, and the Scottish Government will now work closely with the Comhairle and the community to make sure that as many of these as possible now become a reality.

“Now that the UK Government have given the go ahead from their side of the bargain, the Scottish Government has matched them pound for pound, and is determined to see the infrastructure and economy of the islands given a boost, at a time when that is needed.”

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