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Draft budget shows significant funding increase for Highlands and Islands Enterprise

By Louise Glen

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Kate Forbes
Kate Forbes

The north of Scotland’s development agency will see its budget significantly increased under draft spending plans proposed by Kate Forbes MSP.

In her capacity as cabinet secretary for finance, the MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch set out her draft Scottish budget before the Scottish Parliament last month – and Highland MSPs are expected to debate it over the coming weeks.

One key announcement was the notable boost for Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) budget, which will go from £58.2million in 2020/21 to £67.6million in 2021/22 – an increase of almost £10million or 16 per cent.

Because the SNP government is a minority administration, 61 out of 129 MSPs, the draft budget requires four votes from the remaining 68 opposition MSPs for it to pass.

Ms Forbes said: “It is important that Highlands and Islands Enterprise are resourced to play a leading role in the Highland economic recovery, so I am pleased by the increase in budget for HIE.

“The Budget responds to the immediate challenge of business survival and then investing in the longer term recovery of the Highlands over the next year. We have all been through the toughest of times, and we must emerge stronger.

“There are some fantastic entrepreneurs in the Highlands – they will drive our growth and must be supported over the long term.”

Read me about Kate Forbes.

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