A UK Government minister has said he wants to see the Inverness City Deal plans “progress positively” – but stopped short of outlining a timetable for a decision.
Communities and Local Government minister James Wharton was quizzed on the issue by Inverness MP Drew Hendry in the Commons yesterday.
The SNP MP said Highland Council had submitted a “detailed and innovative” plan with the support of the Scottish Government.
He asked: “Will you commit to advancing discussions and will you indicate a timescale for finalising the process to allow the deal to get under way?”
Tory frontbencher Mr Wharton said the discussions had already started and that officials had met local representatives on December 2.
He added: “They will continue to talk through these plans to ensure they are robust, to ensure they will deliver what is needed, that they meet the requirements we look to place on such deals and they have the support they need in order to continue.
“We wish to see them progress positively, that’s the strongest assurance I can give you.
“Of course these things need to be done properly and thoroughly before they are taken forward.”
Mr Hendry has previously said a £300million City Region Deal could be the making of Inverness and had the potential to be a “game changer” for the Highlands.