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Agency gets Holyrood backing

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FINAL plans for the South of Scotland Enterprise Agency have been backed by the Scottish Parliament this week.

MSPs agreed the final legislation on Wednesday and it will pave the way for the new agency to be up and running by next April.

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth was delighted to secure changes to ensure the body must legally consult people in the area on their proposed action plan as well as performance and to ensure the action plan is reviewed by at least every five years. Among its aims will be to improve transport and digital connectivity locally, as well as support social enterprises. Mr Smyth said: “We need an agency that is for the south, from the south. Unless it finds local solutions to the local challenges- and opportunities facing the economy and communities in the region, then the agency will not deliver on its aims. That means listening to the communities within the South of Scotland.” Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson has also welcomed it. He said: “The passing into law to herald a South of Scotland Enterprise Agency is a hugely positive step in the right direction for the region. “It has been a long time coming, but I believe this agency can unlock the massive potential the region has to offer and help to boost economic growth and deliver a greater skillset. “For too long, the south of Scotland has been forgotten by decision makers, but this can help to move away from those days.” And Joan McAlpine MSP added: “The South of Scotland was an important player in Scotland’s early textile industry, its agriculture and forestry sectors are thriving, and it has a growing tourism industry. It also has a diverse business base. The economic seeds are all there and, with the right nurturing, can flourish.” /ENDS

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