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Highlands and Islands Enterprise Budget Cut By Scottish Government

18th December 2016

"Not content with trying to dismantle Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE) Board, the Scottish Government are now cutting the budget to this important organisation," said Highlands Regional MSP, Rhoda Grant.

“Today we learned that the basic Government grant to the HIE is to be cut by £7.5 million from £74.5 million to £67 million. Clearly this is further evidence that the SNP Government plan to strip HIE altogether. This cut added to the £8.7 million of cuts already imposed since the SNP came into government shows us clearly that as well as dismantling of the Board, that the Scottish Government intend to do away with HIE altogether. This cut comes out of the economy of the Highlands and Islands. The ability of HIE to strengthen local economies and to be locally accountable for this, has been removed by taking away their ability to work with our communities “

“I will continue to campaign to stop HIE going south and implore Scottish Government to stop and reflect on this flawed and ill thought out plan. The Government need to stop and listen to the people who live, work and visit this area and realise that a locally based HIE Board are in place to realise the community and economic development and social cohesion of all of the Highland and Islands area and any plan to create an overarching centrally based Board will reverse 50 years of positive working partnerships.”

“I and so many others are convinced that part of the great successes of the HIDB and the subsequent HIE was the fact that the Board itself was based strategically within the Highlands and Islands and comprised of people who had an affinity with the area, people who knew the cultures, people who knew of the expectations and people who could relate to the crofter on Skye, the weaver in Harris, the hotel owner in Lochaber or the oil rig worker in Easter Ross. This fact was indeed a great asset and attribute. If we remove the HIE Board to the central belt and make it part of any overarching organisation, we will most definitely lose that unique and very important objective of the very first Chairman, which was for the Board to be judged by its ability to hold population in the true crofting areas whilst enhancing the social and economic development of the area.''

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