MORE than £4.5 million was invested in economic development in Moray during 2017/18 – an increase of £815k on the previous year.
The Scottish Local Authorities Economic Development Group’s annual report on economic development performance went before Moray Council’s Economic Development and Infrastructure Services committee this morning, highlighting the successes in Moray.
During 2017/18, Moray Council supported 71 businesses, including social enterprises, with grants and loans from programmes. In addition, 1,499 people attended business events run by the council.
Vacancy rates for town centre retail units in Elgin, Forres, Lossiemouth, Keith and Buckie have improved by 2% since 2017, with 9.9% of units unoccupied in these locations in Moray, against the Scottish average of 11.5%. Meanwhile three-year business survival rates show Moray is performing better than the Scottish average of 62.1%, with 64.9% of new business surviving beyond three years.
Employability activities funded or operated by the council saw 716 unemployed people participate, up from 423 in the year before. And, since 2017, 238 people received training and qualifications as part of a two-year project with funding from the European Social Fund, which should take them closer to achieving their goal of getting back into work.
Chair of Moray Council’s Economic Development & Infrastructure Services Committee, Cllr Graham Leadbitter, celebrated the achievements in the report.
“I’m proud to showcase the many successes of our team and partners who are dedicated to economic development in Moray. There are areas where we’re not performing as well against the Scottish average, for example our employment rate, but we benefit from sharing best practice among our network of senior economic development officials from across all 32 Scottish local authorities - and we will use this to make improvements.
“We also continue to work with local and national partners and businesses, including the Moray Economic Partnership, put into action the recently agreed Moray Economic Strategy and take Moray’s Growth Deal through the negotiation stage.”
Famous for its colony of dolphins, fabulous beaches and more malt whisky distilleries than any where else in Scotland, Moray is a thriving area and a great place to live. Nestling between Aberdeenshire and the Highlands, Moray stretches from Tomintoul in the south to the shores of the Moray Firth, from Keith in the east to Brodie Castle in the west.