The news of the long-awaited Moray Growth finally being announced was welcomed across the region, although warnings were issued that the money must be used wisely.
Pearl Hamilton, Forres-based business owner and a member of the Federation of Small Businesses, was pleased to see the funding boost but urged officials to make sure small organisations were supported as well.
She said: “This deal is a shot-in-the-arm for the Moray economy. At a time of low business confidence, this long-term plan provides much needed optimism.
“Nine in 10 businesses in Moray are small so it is vital that this deal works closely with local operators. FSB looks forward to continuing to work with key partners to ensure the voice of small businesses is heard and that local operators get their fair share of contracts.
“Moray already has high numbers of women in business, and a burgeoning hospitality sector. We need to focus on building up this local economy.”
Moray Council’s Conservative opposition group also hailed this “fantastic” boost.
Leader Tim Eagle said: “There has been a lot of hard work and discussion on the Moray Growth Deal since I have been in the council and I am delighted it has taken another step further forward with the announcement of the funding amount.
“Moray has a vibrant local economy and this deal will enable public and private bodies to come together to enhance that and make the most out of what we have to offer.”
Banff and Buchan SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson also thanked all the partners involved in delivering the deal.
He said: “The Moray Growth Deal has the potential to be transformational for the region and is a major investment in the area by the Scottish Government, with matching funds from Westminster.
“I’d like to thank all those involved for getting the Moray Growth Deal across the line, particularly those at Moray Council and their partner agencies.”