24 November 2016
Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, who is Scottish Labour’s Spokesperson for Rural Economy and Connectivity, has today tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament calling for a debate on the decision to disband the board of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), formerly the Highlands and Islands Development Board (HIDB).
Rhoda said ,
“The HIDB, which later became HIE, was set up to assist the people of the Highlands and Islands to improve their economic and social conditions and to enable the region to play a more effective part in the economic and social development of the nation.
“Why then take decision making powers away from the area the board is there to represent.”
Mrs Grant continued,
“With the best will in the world, a board sitting in Glasgow or Edinburgh, cannot possibly understand the unique needs, culture and traditions of the Highlands and Islands.
“These decisions needed to be taken locally, by people with years of local knowledge.
Mrs Grant concluded ,
“It is utterly appalling that on the day the Scottish Government has a debate ‘Supporting and Strengthening Scotland’s Island Communities’ they have just axed the very board which was set up to do this.
“This is a badly thought through, wrong-headed decision which must be reversed.”
The title and text of Rhoda’s motion read :
HIE Board to be Disbanded
That the Parliament condemns the Scottish Government for disbanding the board of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE); believes that this decision will be deeply damaging to communities throughout the Highlands and Islands; further believes that there will be no local Highlands and Islands focus on the overarching board but instead there will be top-down centralised control; deplores the removal of any associated jobs from the Highlands and Islands, and notes calls for the Scottish Government to reverse what it considers to be one of the most retrograde steps in the history of the Highlands and Islands.