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Caithness News Bulletins January 2003

January 2003 Caithness.org News 2002

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COUNCIL WELCOMES EXECUTIVEíS CITY GROWTH FUND

The Highland Council has welcomed the allocation of £3.1 million over the next three years to Inverness as the result of review of Scotlandís six cities by the Scottish Executive. The money comes from a City Growth Fund, totalling £90 million, which is aimed at helping boost the economies of Scotlandís six cities.

The Highland Council will be working in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Inverness and Nairn Enterprise, the University of the Highlands and Islands Millennium Institute, the local Chamber of Commerce and the City Management Group to create a prosperous city region over the next 20 years. In the first instance they will prepare a City Vision that will set priorities for using the City Growth Fund and forming strategic city agreements.

Convener David Green attended the launch by First Minister Jack McConnell in Glasgow. He said: "We are delighted with the outcome of the Cities Review. The award of £3.1 million over three years will help us significantly to enhance the infrastructure of the city/region. Over the coming months we will be continuing our work with our partners to develop a plan, which ensures its future development and prosperity."

He said that over the last five years there had been a remarkable change and expansion in the economy of Inverness, the Moray Firth and the wider Highlands. He added: This reflects success in promoting sectors such as bio-medical, media and IT, but also the strength of our traditional sectors of retailing, distribution and other services. Major opportunities for expansion are currently being pursued, particularly along the A 96 corridor and at East Longman.

Provost Bill Smith, Chairman of the City of Inverness and Area Committee of The Highland Council, said: "I welcome todayís announcement of the Cities Review and the £3.1 million over the next 3 years earmarked for the City of Inverness. The First Minister has recognised that Inverness has been ahead of the game in partnership working as the Council has been liaising closely with HIE, INE, Highlands of Islands Tourist Board, UHI, the Chamber of Commerce and City Centre Management to create a City Partnership. The commitment of these funds by the Scottish Executive will help us to prepare the City Vision requested by the Scottish Executive and kick-start the delivery of a range of worthwhile projects within the City of Inverness."

The Convener also welcomed the First Ministerís statement that he considered that cities were central to Scotlandís economic growth and dynamism but boundaries should not get in the way of growth and opportunity.

Councillor Green said: "I agree entirely with the First Minister that cities are not separate from the regions that surround them and that cities and their city-regions are dependent on each other for their mutual success."