Increased digital connectivity a future boost to isles?

Superfast broadband is just one of the welcome additions to future isles life as outlined in the Scottish government’s Infrastructure Investment Plan (IIP), announced last week.

Nationally the IIP will inject significant capital investment in healthcare, education, transport and the environment over the next five years, as a further £2 billion has been added to the plan since the draft version was published in September.

Highlights include £110 million for digital public services transformation and £60 million for climate adaptation of the trunk road network.

The plan also outlines investments including: £2.3 billion for healthcare, £2 billion for education and learning facilities and around £1.5 billion towards transport, including over £550 million for active travel infrastructure projects and £12 million for coastal change adaptation.

Closer to home investment in the Highlands and Islands includes £30 million in delivering the National Islands Plan, over £6 million to Highlands and Islands Enterprise to deliver the Green Jobs Fund and strengthened connectivity and a future-proofed superfast broadband network through the £600 million R100 programme.

There is also an unspecified amount dedicated to improvements to piers and harbours and support ferry services to and from Scotland’s islands.

Infrastructure minister Michael Matheson said: “Since we published our draft IIP in September, we have received broad support for our world-leading approach and have increased the total spend by £2 billion to further boost our economic and green recovery from the pandemic.

“Our overall focus is on driving inclusive economic growth, the transition to net zero, and building resilient and sustainable places.

“This package of significant investment will support economic confidence in every corner of Scotland and send out a clear message  that we will continue to do allwe can to secure our recovery from coronavirus (Covid-19).

“In the process we will also be supporting over 45,000 jobs and building a strong future for Scotland.”


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