Welcome from our Chair
Prof Russel Griggs
“Exciting times for the South of Scotland”
This is an exciting time for all of us who live and work in the South of Scotland with many opportunities to improve and grow our businesses and communities.
I have lived in the south of Scotland for almost 30 years and know that one of the things we perhaps have not been as good at as some other parts of Scotland is speaking with a single voice in terms of what we want so this is our opportunity to show we can do that and reap the rewards that single voice can bring.
The Scottish Government carried out the Enterprise and Skills Review looking at how it can use the money it spends on economic development better and more effectively for those who should benefit from it. One of the key recommendations was for a new agency supporting inclusive economic growth in the South. That was done in recognition of the challenges we in the South face, but also in recognition of the many opportunities we have.
Over the last few months we have hosted 27 engagement events across the South of Scotland where we have been discussing the big picture and seeking views on what we want that to look like for the south of Scotland. Over 550 attended these events and we got some excellent engagement and feedback on the future of the south of Scotland.
As I keep telling people - the south of Scotland is different with its own character and its own history, and an economy that is shaped differently to the rest of Scotland for good reason. Therefore, we may not want to have the same type of economic development agency as the Highlands and Islands or indeed the central belt. Of course there will be bits that we will want to be the same but there will be things that will be different for good and sensible reasons.
What do we want?
- An agency to ensure that the South’s economy grows in a way that works for the south and is driven by the south
- To work with businesses and communities to transform the economy, building on the strengths we already have here.
- To ensure that people in the South are able to fully participate in that economy, developing skills, taking up opportunities and tackling the barriers that are getting in the way.
An opportunity to be ambitious
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to bring investment, innovation and a renewed commitment to the south of Scotland. The partnership offers an opportunity for greater collaboration and closer working across all sectors and will has agreed a clear and prioritised work plan.