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 Act

The South of Scotland Enterprise Bill was introduced to Parliament on 25 October 2018. It was unanimously passed by the Scottish Parliament on 5 June 2019 and received Royal Assent on Friday 12 July 2019.

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.

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 Act has received general cross-party support, and through the legislative process it has been strengthened on areas such as environment, community support, collaboration, and accountability. Several amendments were also passed to embed fair working practices into SOSE from the outset, making this the first Act to include references to fair work. 

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.