Comhairle nan Eilean Siar welcomes the announcement in yesterday’s Autumn Budget Statement that £20 million has been allocated to the Western Isles as part of the UK Government’s Levelling up Partnership programme.
The Comhairle will work with the Government and local partners to develop a suite of deliverable projects. There is a development phase to be worked through as part of the Levelling-Up Partnership approach, but it is anticipated that investments may include supporting strategic projects already identified through the Islands Growth Deal; supporting Culture and Heritage; supporting Net Zero and fuel poverty innovation; developing community infrastructure and supporting efforts to tackle depopulation.
Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove, said:
“It is excellent news that we have announced the first ever Levelling Up Partnerships for Scotland that will see four local authorities each receive £20m from the UK Government for bespoke place-based regeneration, following an approach on selection developed in collaboration with Scottish government.
“I was in Stornoway just last month to chair the UK Islands Forum and I know that community leaders have strong ideas on how we can break down barriers to levelling up and improve opportunities for everyone living and working in the islands. I look forward to working directly with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, and the Scottish Government, as we develop plans for the most impactful way to invest this £20m in the Western Isles.”
Cllr Paul Steele, Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said:
“At the UK Islands Forum the Comhairle called on all levels of Government to prioritise island communities and make funding decisions that lead to real positive long-term outcomes. This investment of £20 million has the potential to make a real difference to the Outer Hebrides and I look forward to working with the UK and Scottish Government’s to build and deliver a suite of innovative projects that will help sustain and develop the economy of the Outer Hebrides. Across the Outer Hebrides we have a suite of transformational economic development opportunities and am I hopeful that the Levelling Up Partnership approach will be the catalyst to deliver on these opportunities and create new jobs, particularly in our more peripheral communities.”