Published: 21st Jul 2016

In 1965, a plan was put in place to tackle ‘the Highland problem’, a seemingly unstoppable downward spiral affecting the whole economy of the Highlands and Islands. That plan was the creation of the Highlands and Islands Development Board (HIDB). Operating across half of Scotland, the board had two aims: assisting the people of the Highlands and Islands to improve their economic and social conditions, and enabling the region to play a more effective part in the growth of the nation. Armed with an initial budget of just £150,000 and six members of staff, HIDB set about making the Highlands and Islands an attractive place to live, work, study and invest. Fifty years on, and renamed Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), the agency now serves a remarkably transformed region. Overall population has increased by more than 20% to just under 470,000, employment levels are up and unemployment figures are below … (To read the full article, subscribe below)