The UK Government has announced 10 projects in Scotland will share £177 million of levelling up funding.
Almost £27 million will be sent to Shetland for a new ferry for the Fair Isle, £20 million will help turn Arbuthnot House in Aberdeenshire into a museum and library as well as modernising Macduff Aquarium, and £20 million will refurbish the Palace Theatre in Kilmarnock.
The announcement was made on Wednesday, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak saying the Government aims to “build a future of optimism and pride in people’s lives”.
The UK Government’s attempts at levelling up have previously been criticised by the Scottish Government, which accused Westminster of undermining devolution by passing funds directly to local authorities.
Mr Sunak said: “Through greater investment in local areas, we can grow the economy, create good jobs and spread opportunity everywhere.
“That’s why we are backing a number of projects with new transformational funding to level up local communities in Scotland.
“By reaching even more parts of the country than before, we will build a future of optimism and pride in people’s lives and the places they call home.”
Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said the announcement marks the Government “firing the starting gun” on projects across the UK, with more than 100 others announced, while Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said it is “fantastic to see real momentum gathering as we level up across Scotland”.
He added: “We must and will continue to invest in initiatives that will make a difference to communities and help grow our economy.
“So far we have announced more than £2.26 billion – including the two freeports confirmed last week – to bring prosperity and growth to Scotland that is crucial as we tackle the challenges associated with rising energy prices and the increased cost of living.”
Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael welcomed the news on funding for a new Fair Isle ferry.
“After some hard graft on the part of the council and local campaigners in bidding for funding it is enormously gratifying to see Fair Isle secure this investment for its new ferry,” he said.
“Well done to the officials who put the bid together and those in the community who have kept up the pressure.
“I have been working with everyone concerned for some time and I am delighted to see their work come to fruition.”
Shetland MSP and Scottish Liberal Democrat Beatrice Wishart commented saying the funding announcement made “a good news day for the residents of Fair Isle”.
The other projects provided with funding include plans to demolish and re-route the A78 dual carriageway to improve Greenock, regenerate a park in Fife and an area of Stirling, as well as redevelop a multi-storey car park in Dundee.