12 January 2017
Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, has said she is both astonished and angered by the response she has received from the Scottish Government on HIE decision making powers when a new overarching Scotland-wide board is established.
The MSP asked, in a Parliamentary Question, if Highlands and Islands Enterprise will continue to decide the strategic priorities for its investment and social development in the Highlands and Islands following the establishment of the single Scotland-wide board for enterprise and skills.
Rhoda Grant said “What I have been told is both unclear and deeply insulting to senior management of HIE.
“The Cabinet Secretary has stated that HIE senior management will continue to work in the same way as they do now but will benefit from the coordination provided by the new Scotland-wide Statutory Board.
“I find this grossly insulting to both HIE senior management and existing board members who know the needs and strategic priorities of this area like the back of their hands.
“Keith Brown has also stated that the Scottish Government would expect that there will be strong Highlands and Islands representation on the new single board.
“At the very least I would think they would be ensuring that there would be strong Highlands and Islands representation on the board.
“The Cabinet Secretary has also stated that there is no commitment to a single geographic HQ for the board.
“Does this mean they just haven’t decided where this new board would be located, or if it will have a base at all?”
Mrs Grant concluded ,
“Earlier this week we were told that the Scottish Government has admitted it cannot give a list of organisations that back scrapping the HIE board.
“I can give them a lengthy list of organisations who totally oppose the scrapping of the HIE board.
“The more digging we do on this, the more it seems clear that there was little or no thinking put into this wholly unpopular, control-freak, decision. I will not give up the fight to have this decision reversed.