Islands growth deal will release total investment of £335 million

Shetland is set to benefit from a massive multi-million pound investment which should pave the way for growth, prosperity and jobs.

Representatives from both UK and Scottish governments have joined council leaders to sign up for the long-anticipated Islands Growth Deal.

A total investment of £335 million is anticipated across Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles – amid claims it could pave the way for 1,300 jobs.

The agreement commits both governments to work collaboratively with partners.

The deal should place the islands at the forefront of the transition to net zero and support growth in key sectors such as tourism, food and drink, space and creative industries.

It is hoped it will also support “thriving, sustainable communities”.

An investment of £50 million each is being made from the Scottish and UK governments and an anticipated £235 million from project partners.

The 10-year programme has the ambitious target of creating thousands of jobs and tackling depopulation.

Partners will now be working towards the development of full business cases for approval by both governments. It is anticipated funding will be approved and released from 2022/23 onwards.

SIC leader Steven Coutts said: “Our ambitious deal proposals will provide significant economic growth in our islands. We can be confident that this investment in key projects will deliver lasting benefit for our island communities, Scotland and the UK.

“The signing of the heads of terms today signals the collective commitment to see our islands as the attractive place to live, work, study and invest we know them to be.”

Transport secretary Michael Matheson said: “I am pleased to be signing the heads of terms agreement for the Islands Growth Deal, confirming that the Scottish government will invest £50 million in the region over the next 10 years to deliver sustainable growth and support economic recovery.

“The projects supported through this deal will focus on retaining and attracting young people in our island communities, encouraging new visitors, boosting innovation and skills, growing key sectors like food and drink and the creative industries, and building the infrastructure and expertise needed to capitalise on renewable energy opportunities.

“The deal will deliver projects shaped by local people and local priorities that will re-invigorate the island economies, create high-value jobs and build strategically for their long term growth and prosperity.”

Projects set to benefit from the investment include the ultra deepwater port at Dales Voe and Shetland’s clean energy project. The Knab redevelopment also stands to gain from the funds.


Add Your Comment
  • John M Scott

    • March 17th, 2021 9:10

    This deal is only possible because of funding from the United Kingdom working as one nation. Remember this as the SNP continue to campaign for a second referendum on independence.

    • Harry Hatton

      • March 17th, 2021 16:25

      In case you forgot, here’s a reminder to the background: The Regional 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. i.e. not just the Westminster government at all!

      • John M Scott

        • March 18th, 2021 13:51

        I never mentioned Westminster at all, I said: “ The United Kingdom working together as one nation”. There is an important difference.

  • Stuart Hill

    • March 18th, 2021 9:19

    This is a paltry sum compared to the £76 million net (2010 official figures – it’s probably much more by now, but the SIC won’t release the figures) that Shetland contributes every year to the UK Treasury. That £76 million is NET – after we pay all our direct and indirect taxes and get back all the grants and subsidies. It’s a no-strings annual gift that would be much better in our economy. We don’t need to get into these fancy deals – just keep the money here in the first place.
    Stuart Hill
    01950 477829


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