18th November 2018
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Angry response as enterprise board is scrapped

3 comments, , by , in News

The Scottish government has confirmed the abolition of the Highlands and Islands Enterprise governing board, sparking renewed fears that Shetland could lose out through centralisation.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney today told MSPs attending parliamentary questions that HIEs board will be abolished.

Mr Swinney confirmed that the government’s “intention is that, once established, this overarching board will replace individual agency boards”.

Labour MSP and rural economy and connectivity spokeswoman, Rhoda Grant said she was “outraged at this blatant centralisation”.

“It beggars belief that the SNP government will have us debating empowering Island Communities tomorrow while removing their power and influence over HIE,” she said. “The loss of this board takes us back to early 1960 when Willie Ross said that no part of Scotland has been given a shabbier deal by history. Sadly the SNP government appears to be rewriting history and offering an even shabbier deal.”

“The loss of this board takes us back to early 1960 when Willie Ross said that no part of Scotland has been given a shabbier deal by history. Sadly the SNP government appears to be rewriting history and offering an even shabbier deal.”

The decision has also been heavily criticised by Isles MSP Tavish Scott, who has insisted the move represents the end of “bespoke” economic development in the Highlands and Islands.

“HIE will become a branch office of the Scottish government,” he said.

“There will be no board to provide a Highlands and Islands focus – instead once again there will be top down centralised control from the central belt.

“This is the latest centralisation imposed by the SNP. I will work with all parties to attempt to stop this retrograde step as the Scottish government attempt to railroad this through Holyrood.

“Given the SNP councillors on Highland Council oppose this move, it will be a true test of SNP Highland and Island MSPs.

“Will they put their party before their areas? The Highlands and Islands will be watching closely.”

3 comments

  1. John Tulloch

    Interesting that the Highlands and Islands Development Board and its successor Highlands and Islands Enterprise, survived the centralising zeal of the Thatcher government and every other since but will now fall under the SNP sword.

    Imagine what the SNP would have said had Westminster done this. Interested only in what they can transfer from rural areas to the central belt, they are the least trustworthy stewards of all.

    The longer the SNP is in power at Holyrood, the more apparent it will become that Shetland needs Faroese-style autonomy.

    Reply
  2. Steven Jarmson

    Shock horror.
    Front page need.
    SNP centralise something that doesn’t directly benefit Glasgow and the Central Belt, something they feel might benefit people in rural areas.
    When “island proofing” comes in, there will be nothing to “island proof.”
    The next SNP election poster will read- Ask not what the SNP can give you but only what the SNP can give to Glasgow and the Central Belt.”
    Shetland needs to demand full devolution, we need a “Barnet formula” for Shetland, and we need it now!

    Reply
    • Max Mackenzie Bannerman

      Or you could just vote for Ruth Davidson and the Scottish Conservatives to get that mob out of government!?!

      Reply

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