Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, who is Scottish Labour’s Spokesperson for Rural Economy and Connectivity, has tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament calling for a debate on the decision to disband the board of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), formerly the Highlands and Islands Development Board (HIDB).

Mrs Grant said “The HIDB, which later became HIE, was set up to assist the people of the Highlands and Islands to improve their economic and social conditions and to enable the region to play a more effective part in the economic and social development of the nation.  Why then take decision making powers away from the area the board is there to represent.

Mrs Grant continued “With the best will in the world, a board sitting in Glasgow or Edinburgh, cannot possibly understand the unique needs, culture and traditions of the Highlands and Islands.  These decisions needed to be taken locally, by people with years of local knowledge.

Mrs Grant concluded “It is utterly appalling that on the day the Scottish Government has a debate ‘Supporting and Strengthening Scotland’s Island Communities’ they have just axed the very board which was set up to do this.  This is a badly thought through, wrong-headed decision which must be reversed.”