Margaret Davidson

Leader of The Highland Council, Margaret Davidson has welcomed the outcome of the vote in the Scottish Parliament on the motion to reverse the decision to scrap the Board of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Cllr Davidson said: “This vote sends a strong message to the Scottish Government about their incessant centralising agenda and we would now urge Ministers to reconsider their entire approach. Centralisation completely contradicts the move towards localism and communities being involved in decision making and having services which reflect their local needs and geography.”

Cllr Davidson joined with the Leaders of all the local authorities in the Highlands and Islands, in writing to Cabinet Secretary Keith Brown, in December, in a call to protect local decision making for Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). This was in addition to the motion agreed by Highland Council in December, and numerous correspondence and meetings with Keith Brown MSP and Fergus Ewing MSP.

Cllr Davidson added: “We now ask the Government to provide guarantees that Highlands and Islands Enterprise will continue to operate on the basis of delivering local decision making.  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 our unique area. Scrutiny and decision making must remain local.”