Council asked to back area campaign

24/08/15 . GLASGOW. Stock shot of Sterling , cash , pound , currency , bank notes , coin , coins , debt , payment.
24/08/15 . GLASGOW. Stock shot of Sterling , cash , pound , currency , bank notes , coin , coins , debt , payment.

A Dumfries and Galloway Council committee will be asked to support proposals that could see the creation of a new Southern Scotland statistical area.

The Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee will be asked to support the proposal which could attract extra EU funding to the region.

Since 1998, EU statisticians have divided Scotland into four large regions to inform major structural funding decisions – Eastern, Western, North-Eastern and Highlands & Islands.

EU funding eligibility takes account of each of these region’s gross domestic product as an indicator of economic output and performance.

This means that cities like Glasgow are in the same area as Dumfries and Galloway despite the fact they have a dramatically different GDP.

Following extensive lobbying by the South of Scotland Alliance (SOSA) , the Scottish government is consulting on proposals to creating a fifth.

A report to councillors on the Committee has advised them to support the plan as it could bring extra funding into the area.

Councillor Colin Smyth, chair of Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee and co-chair of the South of Scotland Alliance said: “Through the South of Scotland Alliance we have made a strong case to the Scottish Government for a new southern Scotland and we are pleased to see that it has been included in the Scottish Government’s review.

“At the moment, Dumfries and Galloway is grouped with the other areas in the West – which includes Glasgow and Ayrshire and Lanarkshire. Being grouped with these areas means that our rurality is sometimes ignored as the focus is on the larger cities.

“By creating a separate Southern Scotland area, it will allow us to tap into EU funding that we currently aren’t eligible for.

“This will mean more money into the South of Scotland and more money into Scotland overall and would have no detrimental impact on any other area.

“The proposed new boundary would not stop us from still working alongside other local authorities like Glasgow and Edinburgh when needed, but the proposed new NUTS area would help us to become more focussed and with an increased presence.”