Proposals to abolish the board of Highlands and Islands Enterprise have met with strong opposition from local authority leaders.  

Leader of The Highland Council, Margaret Davidson has joined with the Leaders of all the  local authorities in the Highlands and Islands, in writing to Cabinet Secretary Keith Brown in a call to protect local decision making for Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Highlands and Islands Enterprise has been in operation since 1965, aiming to make the Highlands and Islands a successful and competitive region for people to live and work.  

Cllr Davidson said: “We are very disappointed at the proposal from the Scottish Government to abolish the board of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, believing that such an approach is not in the best interests of the Highlands and Islands. We would urge the Scottish Government to reconsider their approach.

“We would also urge the Government to provide guarantees that Highlands and Islands Enterprise will continue to operate on the basis of delivering local decision making. 

“We also believe it is critically important to ensure that local authorities in the Highlands and Islands are actively involved in the setting of the strategic priorities for Highlands and Islands Enterprise and that in delivering their services, Highlands and Islands Enterprise fully takes into account the different local economic priorities, opportunities and challenges facing each local authority area.”

A motion will be put to the meeting of the Highland Council on Thursday 15 December to ask the Scottish Government to reconsider their plans.