Local accountability is more important than ever for the South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), as the search begins for a permanent CEO, this is according to South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Rural Economy Spokesperson Colin Smyth.

SOSE was established on 1 April 2020 as the new economic development agency for Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders.

Since February, Nick Halfhide – previously Director of Sustainable Growth at Scottish Natural Heritage – has led the SOSE team as Interim CEO and remains in post until the permanent appointment is made.

Colin Smyth said: “It is more important than ever that local accountability sits at the heart of South of Scotland Enterprise. The Covid-19 pandemic has hit Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders particularly hard. Both areas are still facing massive economic uncertainty in the coming weeks and months, so this has been a real baptism of fire for the new agency.

“I know there was concern locally over the failure of the Scottish Government to appoint a permanent CEO last year, so I welcome the news that the search has begun to fill this role in a long-term capacity.

“Now more than ever, we need local solutions to the local problems facing our economy so that means having a new agency rooted firmly in the South of Scotland. I look forward to working closely with the new CEO and hope that the recruitment process does not take too long.

“As Covid-19 continues to dominate, SOSE will be key to helping many businesses in the area who are struggling.”

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