McAlpine Lauds Support for New Enterprise Agency
SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has hailed the positive responses received to a Scottish Government consultation on the new enterprise agency for the South of Scotland.
The consultation was launched in March this year. Its purpose was to garner views on the establishment of a new South of Scotland Enterprise agency (SOSE) – a public organisation with the aim of stimulating economic growth and increasing the prosperity of the region.
Ms. McAlpine pointed to the funding already made available for projects in her area by the South of Scotland Enterprise Partnership (SOSEP) – an interim agency put in place whilst legislation for SOSE is pending. Funding was secured for investment in Dumfries and Galloway College and financial support for Annan to mitigate the impact of the Pinneys factory closure. The support for Pinneys from SOSEP was in addition to support received by Scottish Enterprise.
The MSP said:
“The positive reception in the consultation report shows that the people of the South of Scotland are right behind the SNP in the creation of this new agency. The respondents say they agree with the vision put forward by the Scottish Government for SOSE.
“They want to see continued investment in enterprise. They want to see more opportunities for young people. They want the economy driving forward.
“One of the key issues was development of infrastructure, which is something I have long campaigned for. The agency will lead to greater exposure for business opportunities in the South and this can only strengthen the case for infrastructure improvement.”
£7.7 million was awarded to key projects across Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders by the interim partnership in July.
Investment in innovation, good employment opportunities, the creation of a skilled workforce, and more opportunities for young people, were some of the issues identified by respondents as being key to the future success of the new enterprise agency for the South of Scotland.
Many of the 268 respondents to the consultation also suggested that South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) should focus on improving infrastructure and creating a more diverse local economy, whilst ensuring those sectors that are traditionally important to the area, continue to be valued.
Commenting on the consultation report, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:
“We recognise the need for a new approach in the South of Scotland, which addresses key challenges facing the area, which is why we moved to create a new enterprise agency. That agency will be crucial in transforming the fortunes of this important economic region, by working with local partners to create a clear vision, and putting in place the foundations for sustainable and inclusive growth.
South of Scotland Enterprise is expected to be launched in 2020 with legislation set to be produced in April of that year.