The South of Scotland Alliance has welcomed the Scottish Government announcement of an interim partnership being established prior to formation of the South of Scotland Enterprise Agency.
Economy Secretary Keith Brown confirmed at a meeting with the Alliance – made up of Scottish Borders Council, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Scottish Enterprise and the private sector - that a South of Scotland Economic Partnership (SOSEA) will be in place by the end of 2017.
Mr Brown said: “SOSEA will be crucial in transforming the economy of the region, working with local partners to create a clear vision, sustaining and growing communities as well as promoting fair work and inclusive growth.
“This once in a lifetime opportunity can deliver transformational growth for the area, shaping and powering the South of Scotland economy for many years to come.”
Private and public sector partners will help prepare the ground for the establishment of SOSEA in April 2020, focusing on strategic economic development and providing a voice to help address the challenges facing the area’s economy.
Councillor Mark Rowley, chair of the South of Scotland Alliance said: “The opportunity to establish a new South of Scotland Enterprise Agency is a once in a generation opportunity that has the potential to improve the level of investment in economic growth, enterprise, skills and innovation across the South of Scotland.
“While this will not be fully operational until April 2020 as new legislation is required, the establishment of the partnership in the interim will ensure that the south of Scotland benefits from a new approach to economic development as soon as possible and also enables us to carry out some early projects and develop a clear economic plan for the south of Scotland.