The Islands Growth Deal brings together £50m each from the Scottish and UK Governments and a further £235m from project partners.
The 10-year programme of investment has the ambitious target of creating up to 1,300 jobs and tackling the depopulation concerns facing many parts of the three island archipelagos.
Partners are now working towards the development of full business cases for approval by both Governments, with the anticipation of funding being approved and released from 2022/23 onwards.
The Heads of Terms for the Islands Growth Deal was formally signed today by UK Government Minister Iain Stewart MP, Councillor Roddie Mackay, leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Councillor James Stockan, leader of Orkney Islands Council and Councillor Steven Coutts, leader of Shetland Islands Council.
The agreement commits both governments to work collaboratively with Islands Deal partners to deliver a deal focused on: placing the islands at the forefront of the transition to net zero; supporting growth in key sectors of opportunity such as tourism, food and drink, space and creative industries; and, supporting thriving, sustainable communities.
Martin Johnson, HIE’s director of strategy and regional economy, said: “Today’s signing is an important step in securing long-term economic recovery across the three islands.
“The growth deal will promote innovation, drive growth, and help deliver sustainable and inclusive economic recovery across the islands.
“It will support projects that create opportunities to build on and diversify our local economy, creating and protecting quality rural jobs.
“We look forward to working with our partners to maximise the benefits of the Deal to our island communities.”
The full news release from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is at https://bit.ly/3qWaaSA