10-year vision for fairer, greener and flourishing South of Scotland launched

A plan to create a fairer, greener and flourishing South of Scotland has been launched. 

The first ever South of Scotland Regional Economic Strategy has been shaped by a series of consultations through which over 1,400 voices were heard – including those of 300 young people - from all parts of the region.

The 10-year vision is the work of the South of Scotland Regional Economic Partnership (REP), which is made up of representatives from a wide range of organisations, sectors and groups who are based in, or work across the region.

Strategy focus

The strategy seeks to draw a renewed focus on the region’s exceptional quality of life and natural environment, to attract a new generation of people to live, work, learn, visit and invest  in the South of Scotland.

Following the latest consultation this summer, the final strategy has been amended to place a greater emphasis on the importance of the South of Scotland’s Just Transition to NetZero - which means ensuring that as we reduce our emissions, the journey is fair and creates a better future for everyone.

Recognition of the importance of issues such as sustainable travel, reducing deprivation and poverty, retaining wealth locally and increasing the region’s global reputation have also been strengthened.

The strategy has also been shaped by analysis and evidence, alongside the extensive engagement which had a strong focus on capturing the voice of young people. This is reflected in the video created to help launch the strategy, which is narrated by one of two modern apprentices working on the REP.

Six priority themes

  • Skilled and Ambitious People
  • Innovative and Enterprising
  • Rewarding and Fair Work
  • Cultural and Creative Excellence
  • Green and Sustainable Economy
  • Thriving and Distinct Communities

For each of the themes, a series of focussed actions are now being developed as part of an accompanying delivery plan by the REP, which is to be published later in the year.

Who is the REP?

The South of Scotland Regional Economic Partnership (REP) is the forum that brings together a wide range of expertise and sets the direction of the regional economy across Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders. 

Its membership includes:

  • Representatives of the Private Sector – Sue Berry, Sheena Horner, Trevor Jackson, Hamish McLeod
  • Social Enterprises/Third Sector/Local Communities – Crick Carleton, Keith Dickinson, Harry Harbottle, Norma Austin Hart, Peter Renwick
  • Young people representative - Chloe Dudgeon
  • Registered Social Landlords – Matt Foreman (Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership, Julia Mulloy (Scottish Borders Housing Association)
  • Higher and Further Education – Angela Cox (Borders College), Joanna Campbell (Dumfries and Galloway College), Nick Sparks (SRUC), Dame Barbara Kelly (Crichton Campus Leadership Group), Professor Fiona Waldron (Heriot-Watt University)
  • Skills Development Scotland – Chris Brodie
  • Scottish Enterprise – Elaine Morrison
  • VisitScotland – Rob Dickson
  • Scottish Funding Council – James Dunphy
  • Dumfries & Galloway Council – Councillors Rob Davidson, Elaine Murray, Ian Carruthers, Andrew Wood
  • Scottish Borders Council – Councillors Mark Rowley, Shona Haslam, Simon Mountford, Stuart Bell
  • South of Scotland Enterprise – Professor Russel Griggs, Duncan McConchie, Kate Rowell, Hazel Smith

The REP first met virtually in September 2020 and agreed that its immediate focus needed to be the development of a South of Scotland-wide economic strategy. The development of the RES has been driven forward by REP members who endorsed the strategy at their meeting earlier this month. 

Having been approved by Dumfries and Galloway and Scottish Borders councils as well as South of Scotland Enterprise earlier this month.

Recognising the importance of the project, the development of the strategy has been aided by financial assistance from Scottish Government.

Chair of the REP and Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Economic Regeneration and Finance, Councillor Mark Rowley 

 “This strategy is a great piece of work, shaped by more than 1,400 individuals, businesses and organisations from across the South of Scotland and provides a renewed focus on a range of critical issues and opportunities for the region.

“With a final strategy now agreed, we have a really firm footing to open up and expand on existing discussions with a wide range of national partners and organisations and challenge them about how they can respond to the agreed priorities of the south of Scotland.

“Clearly we also need to take joined-up action within the South of Scotland to move the region forward, and again this strategy provides us with a real focus for all the partners in that respect.”

Depute Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, and joint chair of the REP, Councillor Rob Davidson

“The Regional Economic Strategy is a significant opportunity for the South of Scotland and I am delighted that our Council has endorsed it.

“Our focus has always been to create a strategy that endures for the long term and brings a fresh and place-based approach responsive to the South’s circumstances. 

“A huge amount of work has gone into developing this important document and I am grateful to everyone who has worked on it, contributed to it or taken part in our engagement sessions.”

Our Chair Professor Russel Griggs OBE

“After a year of significant work by the REP, and extensive engagement with the people of the South, we now have a strategy to be proud of.

“It aims to help the South of Scotland be a region of opportunity and innovation, where our rich and abundant natural capital drives green growth, with the region’s ambition and quality of life unmatched.

“This is a strategy for the next 10 years, which is why it was so important we engaged with young people and let them help shape their future.”

Julia Mulloy, Chief Executive of Scottish Borders Housing Association, and Member of the REP

“At the heart of our work on the Regional Economic Strategy has been our commitment to harnessing the talent and ambition of the South of Scotland for a stronger future.

“This has been a great opportunity to engage across all sectors and communities to listen and contribute our ideas, skills and experience, to create a strategy that inspires us all to work together to broaden our collective impact on the success of the South of Scotland.”

Trevor Jackson, Scottish Borders-based business owner and Member of the REP

“Working on the Regional Economic Strategy has been a privilege and the process has allowed the voice of business to be heard in the shaping of the strategy.

“We want this strategy to unlock the opportunities for the diverse, talented and ambitious people that live in this region and to ensure that all businesses are supported to make them the best they can be as we move towards a Net Zero future."