A new collective voice to speak on on behalf of Borders business has been created : the Scottish Borders Business Forum.
The forum will represent the region on the big issues that cross every business interest - land based (agriculture, forestry, etc.), manufacturing, construction, retail, commercial, tourism. and road transport.
Their first major event will be in September, focusing on road transport issues and what improvements would best help Borders businesses. Graham Bell from the Federation of Small Businesses will chair the event which aims to find out what the Scottish Government’s road transport plans are in the Borders and to question panellists about them.
Scottish Borders Council will provide an expert to explain its future plans for roads, and the Road Haulage Association will be represented.
Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce convener, James Aiken, said: “While individual organisations will look to the detailed needs of their members, this forum is designed to create more clout when approaching opinion formers and political leaders on issues that concern all of us.”
“I am convinced that this collective voice will ring louder in the ears of politicians than each individual organisation can hope to do. The total is more than the sum of its parts,” said Mr Aiken.
An interactive online presence will be established as soon as possible, funded by a £2,000 donation from the Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce.
The site will draw in comment under specific over-arching themes, gathering together a consensus on what are the most important business issues facing the region.
Each of these themes will then be developed into a short explanatory paper to take forward to the relevant opinion formers and political leaders.
Scottish Borders Council was involved in the initial setting up of a steering group and continues to offer support to the forum. SBC’s executive member for economic development, Councillor Stuart Bell said: “This business forum will reflect the interests of its business members, not of the council.
“I welcome and applaud the initiative and we are happy to contribute, to help move it towards the next stage.”
For more information about the business forum contact: Jim Johnstone, principal officer (business), email: Jim.Johnstone@scotborders.gov.uk