Berwickshire omitted from Assisted Area

Are Michael Moore and John lamont talking about the days ahead?
Are Michael Moore and John lamont talking about the days ahead?
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The decision to grant Assisted Area status to the Borders has divided the region’s political representatives.

Local MSP John Lamont raised concerns after Berwickshire was left out of the final proposals.

The UK Government announced last week that several parts of the Borders were to be given regional aid to help encourage business growth.

However, the proposals excluded Duns, Coldstream, and Eyemouth, and local businesses have voiced their disapproval at not being included.

Mr Lamont said: “The announcement from the UK Government that parts of the Borders would be receiving Assisted Area status was undoubtedly a welcome one. It can provide a huge boost to the economy, helping businesses invest and create jobs.

“I can therefore see no good reason as to why Berwickshire has been totally excluded from the final proposals. While other regions of the Borders will receive this important financial help, Duns, Coldstream and Eyemouth have been completely omitted, and I would like to know what the justification for this decision was.

“Towns such as Eyemouth have hit hard times recently, and could undoubtedly benefit from the financial boost. However instead of businesses being given incentives to invest here, they are being encouraged to go elsewhere in the region.”

Mr Lamont added: “While this announcement will have a hugely positive effect on the areas of the Borders receiving assistance, it will have the opposite effect on areas such as Berwickshire which have been left out.”

However, local MP Michael Moore welcomed significant grant support to Borders businesses.

The Borders MP said: “This is very good news for the Borders. Providing grant support for local businesses will help them invest, recruit and retain staff. Subject to final approval in Brussels, this will be a real shot in the arm for the region.

“Over the past few years we have lost out on Assisted Area status and its support. After the Viasystems disaster nearly 15 years ago, we were given the support until rule changes took it away again.

“Vince Cable has listened to arguments put forward by me, George Lyon, Jim Hume MSP and others, in particular at Scottish Borders Council. That team effort has been important in making the case.”