£4 million investment announced for Scotland’s islands.
The Scottish Government has announced a £4 million funding package to help improve infrastructure on Scotland’s islands.
The capital investment will be allocated to the six island local authorities to fund the improvement, creation or safeguarding of locally developed infrastructure projects.
The funding is part of the £30 million Islands Programme, established to support the implementation of the National Islands Plan – a landmark strategy to improve the quality of life for island communities with 13 objectives, and over 100 specific measures to address population decline, tackle climate change and improve transport, housing, the delivery of public services and digital connectivity.
Speaking at the Convention of Highlands and Islands, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Islands, Mairi Gougeon said:
“I am pleased to announce further investment from the £30 million National Islands Plan infrastructure investment fund. I am providing £4 million across the six island local authorities which will enable us to work together to support critical projects and to help make our islands even better places to live, study, work and raise a family.
“This funding is complemented by ongoing planned investment which is designed to support those living on Scotland’s islands and will involve communities in the decisions on how and where investments are made.
“The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on our islands. The many challenges that communities have faced have been varied and that is why I am committed to delivering the National Islands Plan in partnership with our island partners.
“I know that by working together, we can maximise the impact of our investments and support good, solid projects that will help islanders to thrive.”
Scottish Futures Trust will support Scottish Government in the delivery of the Islands Programme.
Neil Rutherford, Senior Associate Director, Scottish Futures Trust’s Investment and Place team said: “We have been providing dedicated expertise and support to the Islands Programme and will be managing the application, assessment and delivery process of the new projects.
“As a centre of infrastructure expertise, we are very much looking forward to working with the six island local authorities and island communities, to deliver critical and transformational infrastructure that will support islanders with the aim of encouraging population growth, recovery from the pandemic and help to deliver the Scottish Government's net-zero ambitions.”
£4 million is committed against the Islands Programme for the financial year of 2022/23. The Programme will be delivered in partnership with local government and open to applications from the six island local authorities. It will follow a competitive process in partnership with the local authorities with a submission deadline date of 10 June 2022.
An Investment Panel will be established to assess and make recommendations for annual awards. The investment panel will receive strategic direction from the Scottish Government Islands Team and the ‘Islands Programme’ Programme Board. Final decision-making rests with Scottish Government Ministers.
Action Plan to Address Depopulation
The Scottish Government are committed to developing a strategic plan concerning depopulation across Scotland that will consider rural, island and urban Scotland.
As part of this, we will begin to develop a work stream aimed at providing the policy framework to enable population retention and repopulation across rural and island communities, delivering on commitments within the National Islands Plan.
The exact structure and focus of the plan is still to be agreed, and we expect this to be developed over the next 12 months with a view to producing a draft in winter 2023.
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