NEW AGENCY MUST HAVE THE POWERS AND BUDGET TO DELIVER REAL CHANGE FOR SOUTH SCOTLAND, SAYS LABOUR

Scottish Labour has called for the proposed South of Scotland Enterprise Agency to have the powers and budget needed to deliver real change for the region’s economy.

The comments come after the Scottish Government published the results of its consultation on plans for the new agency, which lays bare the economic challenges facing the area including low pay and high levels of rural poverty.

South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, Connectivity and Transport Colin Smyth said,

“Having campaigned for a South of Scotland Agency for over a decade, these consultation results show why legislation to establish that Agency can’t come soon enough. A decade since the Scottish Government abolished Dumfries and Galloway and Scottish Borders Enterprise Companies, this consultation lays bare the huge economic challenges facing the two regions which have been forgotten about by the Scottish Government for far too long. But it is vital that the new Agency has the powers and the budget needed to deliver real economic change for the region. The Agency has to be rooted in the South of Scotland which a membership accountable to the area, not handpicked by Government Ministers in Edinburgh. It must also be underpinned by investment in a Borderlands Growth Deal from the UK and Scottish Government with funding this year.”