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UK government minister Iain Stewart makes Westminster's case for the economy to Highland business leaders to highlight how the region can potentially benefit amid rising hopes of a Green Freeport in the Cromarty Firth

By Scott Maclennan

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Under Secretary of State for Scotland Iain Stewart.
Under Secretary of State for Scotland Iain Stewart.

UK government minister Iain Stewart met with Highland business leaders yesterday to discuss Westminster’s plans to boost the economy at an event organised by the Scottish Council for Development and Industry.

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland discussed a range of issues from the government’s plan for growth as well as innovation, export, net zero strategy and opportunities for the Highlands and Islands.

Mr Stewart had previously visited Inverness in March to mark the start of work on Inverness Castle which is being partly funded by Westminster and Holyrood through the city-region deal.

Top of the agenda was a discussion about the UK government's Plan for Growth, which is better known as the Build Back Better initiative that was prompted by the pandemic.

The levelling up part of the strategy has already seen £20 million of investment secured for awarded to the Highlands for the refurbishment and development of the Northern Meeting Park and Bught Park Stadium from the Levelling Up Fund.

Export strategy was also discussed amid soaring hopes that with the Inverness Chamber of Commerce now joining the Opportunity Cromarty Firth consortium the Highlands is on the verge of a jobs boom if it is granted Green Freeport status.

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