Commenting on the statement by Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jobs & Fair Work, Keith Brown MSP (30 March 2017) on the future of the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) Board, SCDI's Highlands & Islands Director, Fraser Grieve said:

"SCDI welcomes the announcement that HIE's board and its functions, along with those of the other enterprise and skills agencies, will remain unchanged. Following this decision, the focus should now be firmly on taking forward the work of the review on how to increase productivity, innovation and internationalisation across Scotland.

"Over the past fifty years HIE, and its predecessor HIDB, have played a key role in supporting business and industry growth, strengthening communities with the aim that none are left behind and reversing the depopulation trend of many parts of the region.

"In a fast-changing economy, building on its successful approach is the right way for this region to enable more of our businesses and communities to be grow and prosper and attract more young people to live and work in all parts of the region. SCDI also strongly supports the proposed introduction of this approach in the south of Scotland.

"With changing labour markets, digitalisation and low carbon driving an accelerating transformation of the global economy, we look forward to working with the new Strategic Board and the agencies to create an agile, responsive and joined-up strategy and services which position Scotland as a more competitive and inclusive economy." 

SCDI had previously written to the Cabinet Secretary in December 2016 in relation to the ongoing Scottish Government Enterprise & Skills Review, noting that HIE's local decision-making must be preserved. (click to read)