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, which will operate in the local authority areas of the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway.

The overarching aims of South of Scotland Enterprise 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. For more information, and to see RECC’s timetable, see the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee page on the Parliament website. You can also read about the stages the Bill will go through. While RECC consider the content of the Bill, the Finance and Constitution Committee has invited written evidence on the estimated financial implications of the Bill as set out in its accompanying Financial Memorandum. The call for views will close on 7 January 2019.

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 South of Scotland Enterprise.

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

We are investing an additional £10 million in 2018 to 2019 to support economic development work in the south of Scotland, including SOSEP's work, and are already supporting a range of projects.

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.