South of Scotland Enterprise
We recognise the unique circumstances of the south of Scotland, and the need for a fresh approach to drive inclusive growth across the area.
Phase 2 of the Enterprise and Skills Review confirmed ministers would establish a new south of Scotland enterprise agency to address the economic challenges of the area. The Programme for Government confirmed legislation would be introduced into Parliament in 2018 which, with Parliamentary support, ensures the new statutory body will begin its formal legislative operation from 1 April 2020.
South of Scotland Enterprise Bill
The South of Scotland Enterprise Bill was introduced to Parliament on 25 October 2018. This will create a new non-departmental public body called South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), which will operate in the local authority areas of the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway. The overarching aims of SOSE will be to drive inclusive growth and ensure the region benefits from a new approach that supports a diverse and resilient economy, sustains and grows communities, and harnesses the potential of people and resources.
On 5 June 2019 the Scottish Parliament unanimously voted to pass the Bill.
Since the Bill’s introduction to the Scottish Parliament, we have worked to ensure the legislation provides a strong statutory framework for the new agency providing the flexibility to meet the specific needs of the south of Scotland. The Bill has had general cross-party support, and through the legislative process the Bill has been strengthened on areas such as accountability, fair work and collaboration.
The Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee (RECC) was the lead committee. RECC published its Stage 1 report on the SOSE Bill on 4 March 2019 recognising the unique circumstances of the south of Scotland and the need for a new body to support the enterprise and skills needs of the area. Stage 1 concluded with a parliamentary debate which took place on 26 March 2019. Stage 2 consideration of the proposed amendments to the Bill took place on 8 and 15 May 2019.
- Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA): analyses the likely costs and benefits of the Bill to businesses and the third sector
- Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA): summary of potential positive and negative impacts of the Bill on groups with protected equality characteristics
- Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA): aims to identify, research, analyse and record the impact of the Bill on children's human rights and wellbeing
South of Scotland Economic Partnership
We established the South of Scotland Economic Partnership (SOSEP) to ensure the region can benefit from a fresh approach to economic development as early as possible while we establish SOSE.
SOSEP's activities are shaped around local priorities that were developed through consultation with businesses and communities across the region. Priority themes include infrastructure, education and skills, communities, business support, and key sectors such as agriculture, forestry and creative industries.
Ministers have committed £23.3m across financial years 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 to support the work of the SOSEP, and the establishment of SOSE.
Between March and June 2018 we ran a public consultation on a new enterprise agency for the south of Scotland alongside a series of 26 engagements across the region. We commissioned an independent report analysing the responses.