|Investment in the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) programme met, and exceeded, its targets in Fife, councillors heard at today’s Economy, Tourism, Strategic Planning and Transportation Committee (14 March, 2019).|
|Councillors also backed the roll out of further digital activities to bring broadband to more parts of Fife. As the SSB programme comes to an end, Fife Council has committed to the Reaching 100% (R100) programme, a plan to extend superfast broadband access to every home and business in the country in Scotland, where it is needed most.
Fife Council invested £2.8m in the Scottish Government’s Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband Programme (SSB) to deliver additional coverage and to maximise the number of premises with access to faster fibre broadband.
More premises than ever across Fife can now upgrade through the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband roll out, which provided “gap funding” for areas that didn’t meet the investment criteria for the private sector’s commercial roll out plans. Thanks to the programme, 58,996 premises in Fife were connected to enabling fibre infrastructure by 2018. Further premises are being connected to enabling fibre infrastructure, with was 98.8% of premises passed with fibre broadband. Deployment will continue in 2019.
Cross-council working is in place to encourage continued private sector investment in digital infrastructure in Fife, and officers will support the delivery of the Reaching 100% (R100) programme, once procurement is concluded.
Cllr Altany Craik, (Convener – Economy, Tourism. Strategic Planning & Transportation Committee) from Fife Council said: “I am pleased that more areas across Fife can now access fibre broadband and more people are now able to get a superfast speed. Whether you are downloading a box set, a small business making transactions or just keeping in touch with friends, fibre broadband can make it all happen easily.
“Fast internet access is essential for Fife–based firms and residents to increase connectivity, boost business growth and drive competitiveness. A high-speed connection has become almost as essential as gas, electricity and water.
“As the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband roll out comes to an end stage, we know that some areas still need better broadband, and that’s why we’re committed to the Reaching 100% (R100) programme – to ensure that we reach Fife’s harder-to-reach communities and places and create a fairer Fife.”
Grants for businesses expanded.
The Scottish Government has announced £2 million is now available to help even more businesses in Scotland prepare for Brexit.
The Brexit Support Grant, administered by Scottish Enterprise, will now be available to help small and medium sized businesses manage a wide range of Brexit impacts with funding of up to £4,000 each.
The grant, previously only open to exporters and known as ‘International Project Support’ , is now also available to SMEs in Scotland who do not export for a wider variety of Brexit preparation.
The grant can be accessed by businesses employing up to 250 staff and can be used for activities including consultancy support, professional fees, external training, and international market research.
You can find out if you are eligible for the grant and access more information on how to prepare for Brexit on the Prepare for Brexit website.
Six businesses from across Fife will represent the region at one of the country’s biggest food, drink and hospitality trade events this month with support from Food from Fife and Fife Council’s Trade Development programme.
Now in its 46th year, ScotHot takes place at Glasgow’s SECC on 13th and 14th March, attracting an audience of thousands with chefs and caterers looking to source the latest in food and drink, alongside decision makers from retail, hospitality and distribution.
Businesses from Fife attending with the support of Food from Fife and Fife Council’s Trade Development programme comprise:
- Fior Fruit Merchants, Kirkcaldy – Producers and distributors of a range of natural sparkling apple juice drinks
- Puddledub, Auchtertool – A business with a reputation for producing Scotland’s finest bacon and pork using only the best home reared pork
- St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company, Anstruther – Award-winning farmhouse cheese producer
- Great British Prawn, Montrave – a new company producing ethically farmed prawns
- Woodmill Game, Lindores – producers and processors of Scottish game meats
- The Whisky Sauce Company, St Andrews – a business making whisky-based sauces.
Martha Bryce, Co-ordinator of Food from Fife said:
“The food and drink in Fife is world class and I’m delighted that Food from Fife is able to provide assistance to these businesses through the Trade Development programme, allowing them to act as ambassadors for the region. This activity is part of our activity to bring businesses in Fife together to grow the food and drink sector.”
Lindsey Anderson of the Whisky Sauce Company said:
“Exhibiting at prestigious shows like this is a significant investment for businesses and this grant helps us take our products to a new audience, make new connections and grow our business.”
Food from Fife is a not for profit company that was established in 2010 to help the diverse local food and tourism businesses work better together to grow the overall industry in Fife.
Find out more about Food from Fife and its member businesses at www.foodfromfife.co.uk. Businesses interested in attending should contact Food from Fife’s coordinator, Martha Bryce on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in participating in or visiting an exhibition? Find out about the support available through Fife Council’s Trade Development programme by visiting www.businessgatewayfife.com/trade-development-programme.
City Region Deal announces £35 million funding.
Up to 1,600 new jobs are set to be created across Fife after £35 million funding was awarded to a visionary industrial regeneration project.
The Fife Industrial Innovation Investment programme will support the creation of 1,000 new skilled permanent jobs and alomst 600 short-term construction jobs.
Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal’s Joint Committee approved the £35 million investment in the long-term transformative programme for Fife on Friday (1st March).
The project will also deliver an estimated 130,000 sq ft of new offices, industrial space and new storage/distribution facilities. These have been designed to draw in a diverse range of industries and encourage more businesses to locate and grow in the region, supporting the wider economy.
In addition to the £35 million funding through the City Region Deal, the Fife Industrial Innovation Investment programme will be bolstered by a further £9.2 million of funding from Fife Council. Proceeds from sales of service employment land will bring the total investment in the programme to £48.4 million.
Fife Council Co-Leader, Cllr David Ross, said: “The Fife Industrial Innovation Investment Programme is part of our commitment to build modern business premises to facilitate private sector investment to ensure that Fife’s economy is firmly fit for the future.”
Fife Council Co-Leader, Cllr David Alexander, added: “This initiative will significantly increase the supply of new industrial, office and business space in Fife. This will be achieved through direct investment by the council in its existing land holdings, and new acquisitions, as well as working with private sector land owners and developers to leverage additional investment and funding into Fife and the City Region.
“This programme builds on previous investment in site infrastructure, such as the Kincardine Training and Enterprise Hub, Levenmouth Business Park and new Business Units at Queensway, Glenrothes.”
The City Region Deal investment will be over 10 years and underpins its commitment to supporting long-term approaches to improving regional economies.
Infrastructure Secretary, Michael Matheson said: “Using £300 million of Scottish Government investment, the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal is designed to deliver inclusive economic growth, providing opportunities and distributing the benefits fairly across the entire region.
“The Fife Industrial Innovation Investment programme will utilise £35 million of funding from the Scottish Government through the deal and is especially exciting, as it plans to facilitate partnership working with the region’s universities and business community. This joined up approach will ensure that the area benefits from the investment made elsewhere in the deal to spread high value jobs across the Kingdom of Fife. I would like to thank those involved for the work undertaken to get to this position which ensures that we can quickly capitalise on the opportunity that the City Region Deal has provided.”
Scottish Secretary, David Mundell, said:“There is good progress being made on the City Region Deal projects. The UK Government is investing £300 million in the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal to deliver transformational change, opportunities and inclusive growth to the region. It’s important that we build on our existing strengths, maintain the UK’s position as a world leader in innovation, and create jobs for the future – that is why we’ve so far committed £1.3 billion to city and growth deals across Scotland.”
Additional projects approved by the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal Joint Committee were the Central Borders Innovation Park, three skills programmes which will operate across the region, and an investment in the Edinburgh Futures Institute.
The City Region Deal, which was signed last year, secures £1.3 billion of investment for the city region over the next 15 years. It includes the UK Government, Scottish Government, and local authorities of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Fife, Midlothian, Scottish Borders, West Lothian and the region’s universities and partners.
Fife Council has started work on the construction of new business units at Hillend and Donibristle Industrial Estate (HADIE), signalling the start of further regeneration and economic recovery work by the Longannet Task Force in South West Fife.
HADIE is well-located and has always been popular with businesses, given its proximity to the trunk road network and railway stations.
The development proposal comprises six business units, along with an access road, car parking and landscaping. The new units will range in size, providing a total of 800 sqm of new business space to help meet the demand within the local market for modern, fit-for-purpose business accommodation in this key location.
The project has been made possible due to the Longannet Task Force which has secured funding from the Scottish Government Local Economic Development Capital Stimulus Fund and the Big Lottery Coastal Communities Fund. The development of the proposed units will mark a significant milestone in Fife Council’s long term commitment to the regeneration of HADIE, in addition to acting as a catalyst for future business investment and jobs growth locally.
South West Fife was heavily impacted when Longannet Power Station closed prematurely in mid-2016. This project – along with other recent initiatives, including the opening of an Enterprise Hub in Kincardine – will help to ensure that the area thrives once more.
The project, which is being delivered by Fife Council, will offer new business units for rent from late 2019. Enquiries on pre-letting are welcomed via email@example.com
Cllr Altany Craik, Convener of Fife Council’s Economy, Tourism, Strategic Planning and Transportation Committee, said: “These new units are targeted at existing and new businesses, whether they are already in Fife or looking to locate within the Kingdom. We have been working on regenerating this area, and the whole of South West Fife, delivering modern business units to meet the changing needs for the 21st century.”
Cllr Alice McGarry, Convener of Fife Council’s South West Fife Area Committee added: “I’m delighted that support from the Longannet Task Force, has allowed us to speed up our plans for continued regeneration at Hillend and Donibristle Industrial Estate. The new business units will be a welcome addition locally and will help ensure that vacant or under-used parts of the estate are productive once more.”
A new business charter that aims to promote local jobs, apprenticeships and payment of the living wage has been launched.
Companies in Fife are being encouraged to adopt the Fife Business Charter which aims to promote the creation of employment and training opportunities for local residents, including those with disabilities. It also encourages businesses to work with schools to support learning and career opportunities for local children.
At the launch of the Charter, Cllr David Ross, Co-Leader of Fife Council said: “This Business Charter signals our commitment to a new way of working to ensure that we work with Fife businesses to improve the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the Kingdom in order to create a Fairer Fife.
“Businesses are increasingly judged on their values and corporate responsibility policies and adopting the charter is a fantastic way of demonstrating your company’s commitments to those values.”
The Charter backs the Council’s drive to develop a Fairer Fife to reduce inequalities and encourages businesses to:
- Commit to local recruitment and employment
- Adhere to the principles of fair work and pay
- Make a commitment to actively support and invest in the community
- Create employment and training opportunities for local and young people
- Promote greater inclusion for people with physical and mental health issues.
Having recently won the title of ‘Most Enterprising Place in Britain’ Fife Council remains committed to supporting Fife’s businesses.
Co-Leader Cllr David Alexander explained: “The Charter is also designed to make contact with the council easier and more effective.
“It sets out what the council will do to help all the region’s businesses whatever their size and sector and signposts them to where they can receive advice and support to both start-up and grow.
“It commits the council to procuring as many of its goods and services from Fife suppliers as possible and outlines how we will help businesses comply with statutory requirements.”
The Charter was developed in conjunction with the Fife Economy Partnership, Fife Chamber of Commerce and Federation of Small Businesses.
Michael Longstaffe, Chair of the Fife Economy Partnership said: “The Fife Economy Partnership, along with Fife’s two main business networks – the Fife Chamber of Commerce and Federation of Small Businesses – welcome this business charter and the council’s commitment to supporting businesses of all sizes and sectors.
“We encourage businesses to check out this new charter, take up the council’s offers of support, and show their commitment to supporting inclusive economic growth in the region by taking the Fairer Fife Pledge and by signing up to the Scottish Business Charter.”
The Charter can be found at https://businesscharter.fife.scot.
Fife is to benefit from a new £50 million Scottish Government fund to improve struggling town centres.
Fife Council is to be the largest beneficiary of The Town Centre Fund, which is to be distributed amongst all 32 local authorities to finance a wide range of investments to make town centres more vibrant, enterprising and accessible.
Convener of the Council’s Tourism, Strategic Planning and Transportation Committee, Cllr Altany Craik, welcomed the announcement saying: “Our recent budget called for more funding from the Scottish Government to support our efforts and I’m pleased this request has been answered with this announcement.
“The Scottish Government has recognised the importance of investing in Fife’s town centres by allocating over £4.3 million for Fife.
“The funding will be used to support our town centres to become more diverse and sustainable and to increase footfall through local improvements and partnerships.
“This new fund complements wider support for town centres available through Scotland’s Towns Partnerships. Fife Council works closely with the Partnership and will look at both quick wins and longer-terms strategic plans for its town centres.
“We will look to focus this funding on Mid-Fife, where we are developing an action plan and working closely with partners and communities to ensure that its town centres have a vibrant and essential role in supporting future economic and housing growth.
“Across the UK, town centres are facing persistent and serious challenges as consumer behaviour and economic changes cause difficulties in filling retail units and higher vacancy rates. This is not just a Fife issue – it is a UK issue.
“We are 100% committed to supporting the evolution of town centres, particularly where challenges have been more pronounced. For example, in Kirkcaldy, we’re working closely with the local Business Improvement District, Kirkcaldy4All, business owners, property managers and organisations such as the Kirkcaldy Ambitions Partnership to deliver an enhanced town centre experience for shoppers and visitors.”
Fife College is working with employers to deliver the right skills, at the right time and in the right place.
Equipping the workforce of the future with the right skills has never been more important with skills gaps emerging in many areas, including engineering, technology and childcare.
To support the development of a talent pipeline, Fife College is working closely with employers in order to understand current and future workforce challenges facing companies and to tailor courses around these local and national needs.
Apprenticeships form a key part of the College’s offering and are vital in helping employers develop their workforce by not only training new staff but also upskilling existing employees.
The College currently delivers one of the largest Modern Apprenticeship (MA) contracts on behalf of Skills Development Scotland of any college in Scotland. Around 500 MAs are trained by the College each year across more than 20 framework sectors from construction to social services.
In partnership with Fife Council, the College also operates one of the most ambitious Foundation Apprenticeship (FA) contracts in Scotland with 11 FAs available for high school pupils in Fife.
Apprenticeships – both MAs and FAs – provide employers with an excellent way of obtaining the skilled workforce they require to address sector-specific skills gaps.
Click to find out more about Foundation Apprenticeships.
Alternatively call 0344 248 0128 or email firstname.lastname@example.org