Highlands and Islands Enterprise supports 1,200 jobs but fails to meet green target

The Highlands and Islands Enterprise base at An Lochran campus. Picture: Tim Winterburn/HIEThe Highlands and Islands Enterprise base at An Lochran campus. Picture: Tim Winterburn/HIE
The Highlands and Islands Enterprise base at An Lochran campus. Picture: Tim Winterburn/HIE
“It’s important that we stay ambitious and keep challenging ourselves to improve” – HIE chief executive Stuart Black

More than 1,200 jobs have been supported by the efforts of Highlands and Islands Enterprise over the past year, but some targets were missed, new figures reveal.

The economic development agency said the outturns for 2023/24 had been achieved through a combination of financial and non-financial interventions. These included approved investment of up to £56.8 million in 339 projects with a combined total cost of £426.9m.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The figures - subject to review by Audit Scotland before publication of HIE’s annual report in December - show that businesses supported by the agency are set to see combined turnover rise by £619.7m as a result, while international sales will grow by £47.7m. However, HIE admitted that some targets, including the number of green jobs, had not been achieved amid tough economic conditions.

Over the course of the year, the agency recorded involvement in a record 13 inward investment projects in Argyll and the Islands, Highland, Moray, Shetland and Orkney. Together these are expected to create more than 400 jobs. Seven of these projects are from new investors to the region, including the Sumitomo Electric Industries subsea cable factory at Nigg that is expected to create more than 150 jobs.

HIE chief executive Stuart Black said: “Given the wider economic context, the figures show a strong outturn for our investments across the Highlands and Islands last year. It was a particularly good year for inward investment, even when you exclude the Sumitomo project, and this really highlights the levels of interest in the many strengths and natural advantages the region has to offer.

“The fact that some targets could not be achieved underlines just how tough economic conditions were, both at regional and national levels. At the same time, it’s important that we stay ambitious and keep challenging ourselves to improve.”

Ten of HIE’s 14 targets were achieved or exceeded. Those not achieved in full were the number of jobs supported in fragile areas, which was 82 against a target of 150, and the number of green jobs was 271 against 370. The numbers of businesses helped to reduce emissions and transition to net zero were also below target.

Related topics:

Comments

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.