South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has told the Scottish Parliament that the proposed new South of Scotland Enterprise Agency must have the powers and budget to deliver real change for the region.
Mr Smyth, who is also Scottish Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, Connectivity and Transport, was speaking during a recent debate on the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government, in which the First Minister confirmed that the legislation to establish the new Agency would be brought before Parliament this year.
Mr Smyth said: “As someone who has campaigned for more support for the South of Scotland economy for ten years, I welcome the long overdue legislation to establish the South of Scotland Enterprise Agency - a decade after the Scottish Government abolished local enterprise agencies in Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders.
“But that legislation must ensure membership of the agency is rooted in the South of Scotland, with powers to deliver real change both in enterprise and skills and with a budget to deliver that change.
“It must also be underpinned by investment in a Borderlands Growth Deal from this year’s Government budget.”
Proposals for an enterprise and skills “vehicle” were first published in October as part of the Scottish Governments Enterprise and Skills Review, with the agency’s establishment as phase two of the review, covering the Scottish Borders, and Dumfries and Galloway confirmed in June last year.