Green recovery plan from HIE

The HIE operating plan.

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Development agency Highlands and Islands has set out its plan to create jobs and support a green economic recovery.

HIE said its 18-page plan, called Action for Jobs and Communities 2021-22, has a number of targets, including supporting more than 700 jobs, increasing business turnover by more than £80million and securing up to £80m in capital asset investment for the region. It also hopes to increase social economy turnover by up to £4m.

Resilience support will focus on sectors such as tourism, and food and drink.

It also aims to help island, rural and disadvantaged areas most impacted by Covid-19 and the UK’s exit from the European Union.

HIE said it would pursue opportunities in sectors such as life sciences, energy, space and the marine economy.

Other priorities include accelerating progress in the transition to net zero emissions.

Collaboration with partners at local, regional and national levels will also be continued.

Charlotte Wright, chief executive of the Highlands and Islands Enterprise Agency

Charlotte Wright, HIE outgoing chief executive, said: ‘We are delighted to publish our operating plan for the year ahead.

‘This is about resilience, restart and green recovery. It’s about developing and pursuing opportunities that will generate significant growth in the medium to long-term, especially in our islands and rural mainland areas.

‘And it’s about attracting talent and retaining rural populations.

‘Jobs and communities are our prime focus, whether we are leading projects, supporting third parties, or working with partners to help create a better future for our region and its people.

‘All of this means targeting our resources to maximise benefits, while being a strong and passionate voice for the Highlands and Islands that informs national decisions and attracts additional investment.’

Alistair Dodds, chairman of HIE, said: ‘This operating plan responds to both the pandemic and the changes introduced by the UK’s exit from the European Union.

‘Its development has been informed by our experiences over the past year, by the views of our customers and partners, and by our vision and ambition for this region, which remain as strong as ever.

‘We look forward to implementing the plan in ways that benefit all parts of the Highlands and Islands and ensure our region plays a full role in Scotland’s economic recovery and transition to net zero.’

The plan can be found at https://www.hie.co.uk/operatingplan21