South Scotland Labour MSP and Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy Colin Smyth has welcomed the announcement of £7.7m of funding from the South of Scotland Economic Partnership (SOSEP) on projects in Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders.

The funding confirmed today (19th July) will be spread over two years and include support to Borders and Dumfries and Galloway Colleges to boost digital learning, a textiles centre of excellence in Hawick, regeneration in Annan and a number of community projects.

Commenting on the announcement Colin Smyth said, “The allocation of funding by SOSEP is welcome and badly needed to begin to reverse the neglect we have seen towards the local economy in recent years, in particular the focus on the skills gap the area faces in key sectors. However, this isn’t new funding from the Government and comes from SOSEPs existing £10m budget announced in December, long before the region was hit by the current jobs crisis. A spate of job losses across the region will see over 1000 jobs disappear from the area in the coming months. If real change is going to happen, more support is needed to tackle the fundamental weaknesses facing the local economy such as investment in infrastructure and support for businesses to create jobs, both of which are missing from this announcement.”

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