Kate Forbes MSP has welcomed the Scottish Government’s ministerial statement on the future make-up of the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and other enterprise boards.
Earlier this afternoon (30 March), Economy Secretary Keith Brown updated the Scottish Parliament on the governance arrangements for HIE and stated unequivocally that HIE’s board will remain.
Mr Brown also praised the work of HIE, and promised that it would continue to be locally managed and run in the Highlands.
Kate Forbes MSP said: “Since the review of Highlands and Islands Enterprise was first announced, I have made clear my strong belief that HIE should be based, managed and operated in the Highlands.
“I want to see HIE strengthened with greater resources and more opportunities to collaborate with other agencies and bodies – for the benefit of the Highland economy and Highland communities.
“I am pleased by the Government’s commitment to not just preserving HIE as we know it, but strengthening it with opportunities to work with other bodies in Scotland.
“It is only right that after several decades of HIE’s existence, that the Scottish Government established a review to determine whether HIE could be strengthened.
“There are entrepreneurs and small businesses across the Highlands who have benefited from support from HIE.
“There are communities who have employed local development officers to open up opportunities. That support will not just continue – but be strengthened.”
The MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch added: “I’m delighted that the name, functions or structures of HIE will not change.
“This is something that I discussed at length with the Cabinet Secretary for the Economy.
“HIE has been a force for good, and the Highland economy has been strengthened in part due to HIE’s work with Highland businesses and communities.
“Like the Cabinet Secretary said, we want to see a step change in the Highland economy.”