Long term partnership approach to economic development and recovery is focus for South of Scotland

Dumfries and Galloway Council and Scottish Borders Council (SBC) along with South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) have further developed their joint working arrangements to address the South of Scotland’s economic development, as well as recovery from COVID-19 as they held the first meeting of a new Regional Economic Partnership (REP).

This comes as the Scottish Government published its Economic Recovery Implementation plan on 5 August calling for REPs to bring partners together to take a focussed approach to driving placed based economic recovery and renewal for the long term. 

The REP brings together partners to develop and drive the delivery of a regional economic strategy for the South of Scotland.

Depute Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Rob Davidson said: “Partners in the South of Scotland have already been active in looking at ways in which the South of Scotland can build on its extremely positive ‘Team South of Scotland’ relationships to put in place measures to help the region recover and thrive going forward.  

“With SOSE now active in the region of course, this is bringing us new momentum to economic development. The first meeting of the REP held last week was extremely important as it formalises the work well underway and is part of our efforts to ensure we harness the expertise and views of all partners and stakeholders to ensure that we deliver on a shared vision and strategy for the South of Scotland.”

Councillor Mark Rowley, SBC’s Executive Member for Business and Economic Development added: “Team South of Scotland involving SOSE and key partners, will further develop the place-based focus already key in our immediate response to COVID 19 and drive the longer term strategy to secure economic growth in our communities.

“The REP extends the excellent work of recent months with businesses, social enterprises, the third sector, community groups, and registered social landlords all being key partners in driving inclusive growth and our economic recovery. 

“We will be finalising the membership of the REP to bring in members from the Private Sector, Third Sector, Social Enterprise, Communities, and Registered Social Landlords following a recruitment drive early in the year.  This increased membership is to be in place for September.”

Professor Russel Griggs OBE, Chair of SOSE added: “In its response to the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery report, the Scottish Government has outlined the importance of the regional work and place-based focused for Economic Development.

“Here in the South of Scotland, much of what is reflected in the findings is very much at the heart of our work already well underway. We remain committed to build upon the great partnership working arrangements and regional focus that we know is in the best interest of our area – promoting economic growth, supporting jobs, skills and training.

“Since the pandemic, we have worked in partnership with the two local authorities extremely well and continue to do so along with other partners in order to develop plans to support our businesses and communities into the future.”

  • Since the pandemic, both Dumfries and Galloway Council and Scottish Borders Council have been active in administering the Coronavirus Business support grants with £42.9m distributed in Dumfries and Galloway and £32.9m in the Borders.
  • SOSE has administered £12m to almost 300 businesses and organisation’s across the South of Scotland through the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund (PERF) and Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship funds since May.  
  • SOSE has also recently announced a £2.7m investment in the new South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA) to help boost tourism across the region with a further £2.1m of funds distributed to projects across the region through the South of Scotland Economic Partnership (SOSEP). This brings the SOSEP investment totaling over £11m over 56 projects since 2018.