Oliver Mundell Calls for a South of Scotland Enterprise To Be Set Up

Dumfriesshire MSP Oliver Mundell has written to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance Derek Mackay seeking his views on the creation of a new South of Scotland Enterprise body.

Mr Mundell believes that the success of the Highlands and Islands Enterprise should be replicated in the region and believes that the current remit and priorities of Scottish Enterprise are failing to meet the needs of many local businesses. He argues that despite the best efforts of local staff, that the organisation remains too central belt orientated and doesn’t meet the needs of rural communities in Dumfries and Galloway.

The local MSP has also requested a meeting between the minister and all Scottish Conservative MSP’s for the South of Scotland in order to make the case for the proposal which was included as a key commitment in the Scottish Conservative manifesto. Mr Mundell believes it is a non-contentious issue and is a real opportunity for cross-party working in the Scottish Parliament.

Commenting, Dumfriesshire MSP Oliver Mundell said: “The creation of a South of Scotland Enterprise is a real no brainer and has the potential to bring massive benefits to our region.

“Everyone recognises the success of Highlands and Islands Enterprise and there are clear lessons to be learnt for our region.

“Small and medium sized businesses locally rightly argue that too much attention is focussed on big business and that not enough attention is given to our region and that the current Scottish Enterprise model is not flexible enough to deal with the unique challenges we face in more rural areas.

“Local politicians have long argued that growing our local economy and ensuring that the right support is there for businesses in what is a largely rural area is the key to tackling some of the long-term issues we have faced around employment and opportunities. In my view taking this bold step and devolving power down to our communities would be a big start in addressing local concerns and taking positive action.”

He added: “Given the lead the Scottish Conservatives have taken on this issue I am particularly keen to push for it as an early priority in the new parliament and I am hopeful that by working together with other parties we will be able to secure a settlement from the Scottish Government.

“I am hopeful that the Cabinet Secretary will listen to our case and start the ball rolling.”

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