The South of Scotland is set to benefit from the creation of a new enterprise agency, after a Bill was introduced to Parliament. The new agency will:
• drive the economy forward with growth that creates opportunities for all, where the benefits of increased prosperity are shared
• sustain and grow communities so that people thrive in the places where they live and work
• harness the potential of people and resources of the South, developing the skills and making the most of assets to address exclusion and assist growth
Speaking as the bill was published, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:
“The introduction of this Bill marks an historic day for the South of Scotland, with a major step taken in the creation of its own enterprise agency.
“Recognising the distinctiveness of the area, the new body will take a fresh, tailored approach to supporting the economy of the South of Scotland. It will play a vital role in delivering our ambitions for the area, driving inclusive growth and supporting the rural economy.
“The Bill we have introduced draws on the wide-ranging consultation we carried out. It sets out the framework for the new agency. The powers it provides will ensure businesses and communities across the South of Scotland benefit.
We also make clear our commitment to ensuring the new agency receives a fair budget. We will look to ensure that it is funded on a per-capita equivalent basis to Highlands and Islands Enterprise, which delivers a similar range of support in a predominantly rural area.
“Of course, the South of Scotland Economic Partnership (SOSEP) – the interim body established in advance of the new agency– is ensuring the area is benefiting from a fresh approach and has awarded nearly £8 million in funding to various local enterprise projects since June.”
Chair of SOSEP, Professor Russel Griggs said:
“This is a landmark moment in our journey in the creation of the south of Scotland enterprise agency and I am looking forward to working with the communities to bring a new focus to the region through the development of this new organisation. It will provide an opportunity for greater collaboration and the creation of a successful economic environment in which businesses and communities will thrive.”