South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has criticised the Scottish Government for an “utterly unacceptable delay” in establishing a new South of Scotland Enterprise Agency- after it was revealed today (22 June) that the new Agency won’t be set up until 2020.

The news came as the Government published Phase 2 of their Enterprise and Skills Review. The announcement of a three-year delay comes despite the fact that Dumfries and Galloway Council and Scottish Borders Council both proposed a model to the Government based on a local government “committee” using existing legislation that could have seen a full Agency established within a matter of months rather than having to pass a new law.

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said:

“Having campaigned for such an Agency for years and been heavily involved in the development of the joint proposals from Dumfries and Galloway and Scottish Borders councils for how that Agency should look, I am furious that the Government is delaying setting up a full Agency for another three years. A proposal was put to the Government that would have seen a new Agency up and running within months using the local councils under current laws but clearly the Government’s obsession with centralisations means they want to control everything including this new Agency.

The document they have published simply cuts and pastes the one the two councils produced in relation to the boundaries of the new body and what it’s aims should be. But the Scottish Government hasn’t proposed anything itself other than dither and delay. It is now nine months since they announced they would establish an Agency but we won’t even see legislation published until next year never mind a new Agency.  There isn’t a single word of detail on what interim arrangements will look like; who will be on the new agency or crucially what resources it will have. You have to seriously ask what the Scottish Government have been doing since they started this review. The economy of the South of Scotland needs more support now not three years’ time”.

The full report ‘Enterprise and Skills Review: Report on Phase 2: South of Scotland Enterprise Agency’ can be found:


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