South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has secured changes to proposals for a new South of Scotland Enterprise Agency that will ensure it is more locally accountable.

Parliament backed the local MSPs amendment on consultation as it agreed the final legislation yesterday (5 June 2019) that will pave the way for the new Agency to be established and up and running by April 2020.

The proposal from Colin Smyth makes it a legal requirement for the new agency to consult people in the South of Scotland, including the two local councils, on their proposed action plan as well as performance and to ensure that the action plan is reviewed by the agency at least every five years.

It is one of a number of changes to the legislation secured by Colin Smyth through the process including strengthening the Agency’s aims to cover improving transport and digital connectivity and supporting social enterprises. Following pressure from Colin Smyth the Government also agreed to ensure that workers have a voice in the running of the new Agency with a commitment to establish a Workers Interest Committee to advise the new agency and the new Board must include members with knowledge or experience of workers issues such as Trade Unions.

Colin Smyth said, “I’m pleased to have made a number of changes to the proposals for a South of Scotland Enterprise Agency that will make it far more locally accountable. We need an Agency that is for the south, from the south. Unless it finds local solutions to the local challenges- and opportunities- facing the economy and communities in the region then the agency will not deliver on its aims. That means listening to the communities within the South of Scotland. Having campaigned for an Agency for a decade I am pleased the final proposals have now been agreed by Parliament. It’s time to get on with setting up the agency and making sure it delivers for our region. I will certainly be holding it to account to make sure it does.”

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