Dumfries and Galloway Council Leader Elaine Murray has called for a transformative South of Scotland Enterprise Agency that is built in the South at a meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee.
The Scottish Parliament’s Committee held an evidence session at the Easterbrook Hall in Dumfries yesterday (14 January), hearing from Dumfries and Galloway Council, businesses, community groups and local residents.
In her opening remarks Leader Elaine Murray said: “We believe that the establishment of the new Agency can transform the efforts of current partners to drive forward the economy of the South by connecting efforts around a regional agenda and providing structure, focus, alignment and momentum.
The Agency must be ‘built in, and for’ the South of Scotland, giving us collectively the power to address the social and economic challenges which bedevil our large and distinctive rural region and to maximise the potential of our considerable assets.
We aren’t here to ask for handouts; we are ambitious to transform the South of Scotland into one of the most vibrant rural economies in Europe, making a significant contribution to both the Scottish and UK economies.”
Speaking after the Committee meeting Councillor Elaine Murray said: “I am grateful for being able to give evidence on the current proposals in athe South of Scotland Enterprise Bill at the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee. Our Council has campaigned for an Enterprise Agency for some time and we are pleased to see the foundations being laid.
While we support the Bill, we would like to see local accountability drastically improved. The Agency that is set up must be accountable to the people who live here in Dumfries and Galloway not just Ministers and the Scottish Parliament. Our Council already scrutinises the local performance of Police Scotland, Fire and Rescue Services, NHS and the Integrated Joint Board: so, there is a precedent. Also, given the role our Council already plays locally in supporting the local economy and skills, it is important we have a close working relationship with the new Enterprise Agency and hold it to account.”