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, assuming 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.

The Bill has now begun its journey through Parliament, with the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee (RECC) as lead committee. You can read about the stages the Bill will go through.

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. Parliament unanimously agreed to the general principles of the SOSE Bill. 

Impact assessments

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.

Investment

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.

Consultation

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.