South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has described the Scottish Government’s National Economic Forum, which was held in Dumfries yesterday (16 May 2018), as a “missed opportunity”.

The forum was held at the Easterbrook Hall and saw key note speeches from both the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon and her Depute, John Swinney.

In her key note speech Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the decision of the Rural Parliament that they intended to hold their next meeting in Stranraer in November this year- but failed to announce any new support for the local economy.

Colin Smyth said, “The National Economic Forum may have been an opportunity for those invited to hear some good speeches, but as far as supporting the economy of the south of Scotland it was a missed opportunity. Nicola Sturgeon provided no new support for local businesses or new money to invest in the local economy.

People in Dumfries and Galloway are sick of talking shops. There were no fewer than seven Scottish Government Ministers who had nothing new to say about local economy. Instead the Government simply repeated that the South of Scotland Enterprise Agency would be set up but we still have to wait until 2020. Dumfries and Galloway has huge economic┬áchallenges and is suffering from a lack of opportunities to keep young people in the region. One of those huge challenges being the threat of closure at Pinneys in Annan which could cause an economic tsunami, the clock is ticking. We don’t have another two years to wait to tackle those issues”.</s

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