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Growing the South of Scotland Economy

The development of the South of Scotland Regional Economic Strategy has been led by the South of Scotland Regional Economic Partnership, and supported by Dumfries and Galloway Council, South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) and Scottish Borders Council. Members of Dumfries and Galloway Full Council (24 June) will be asked to agree to a consultation on the draft Strategy and the Council’s participation in the consultation process. The consultation is to take place during Summer 2021, commencing early July to the end of August 2021.

The unique opportunities and challenges facing the south were key drivers for the creation of SOSE in April 2020. SOSE, Dumfries and Galloway and Scottish Borders Council established Team South of Scotland immediately after SOSE was launched. This partnership is a key strength of the South of Scotland and has been critical to managing and mitigating the economic impacts of Covid-19. The partnership approach has also brought in other public sector agencies, including Skills Development Scotland and VisitScotland to strengthen the response to significant emerging issues in our main business sectors.
It was agreed between local partners and the Scottish Government that a Regional Economic Partnership (REP) for the South of Scotland would be established. The partnership, led by both local authorities brings together a wider group of stakeholders, including those from outside the public sector, to drive forward the regional economic agenda. The development of the draft South of Scotland Regional Economic Strategy, which will set the strategic direction for the regional economy for the next 10 years, has resulted from this partnership and will seek to maximise economic opportunities.

The vision of the Strategy recognises the unique strengths of the South of Scotland in relation to its natural capital, the quality of its communities and cultural identity and looks to increase the working population and attract visitors to the region. Inclusivity, sustainability, innovation and creativity, and making the most of everyone’s potential have been key elements in influencing the vision and the priority themes. The final Strategy will replace the existing Dumfries and Galloway Regional Economic Strategy.

From this vision the Strategy identifies high-level actions under six priority themes. These are:
· Skilled and Ambitious People
· Innovative and Enterprising
· Rewarding and Fair Work
· Cultural and Creative Excellence
· Green and Sustainable Economy
· Thriving and Distinct Communities

These priority themes will provide the ambition and intent for the development of a three-year delivery plan that is updated on an annual basis.

Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Elaine Murray said: “I believe that the Regional Economic Partnership has done a great job compiling this Economic Strategy over a short period of time and with extensive consultation with stakeholders. These stakeholders will be consulted again on the draft strategy, and there will also be a focus on gaining the views of young people and harder to reach groups on the strategy. This isn’t a joint Council strategy, or a South of Scotland Enterprise strategy, it’s a strategy for the whole of Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders and the partners want to hear as wide a range of views as possible”.
Depute Leader, Rob Davidson, went on to say: “It was a pleasure to chair the Regional Economic Partnership for its first year, during which we laid much of the groundwork for this draft strategy, including the original programme of engagement. The draft demonstrates our shared ambition for our region I hope those who kindly gave us their time in the first round of engagement will recognise their priorities in what we have written. The next round of consultation is an important opportunity to shape the final document and I would encourage everyone with an interest in the economy of the South to take part.”

To read the full report go to:
https://dumfriesgalloway.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s31402/Draft%20Regional%20Economic%20Strategy%20Consultation%20Report%20FINAL.pdf