People across the South of Scotland are being given a further chance to have their say on an ambitious 10-year vision for their region.
The consultation on the draft first ever South of Scotland Regional Economic Strategy is open now and runs until Monday August 16 at https://sosrep.dumgal.gov.uk/.
The draft strategy 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 South of Scotland.
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.
That strategy will shape the region’s future economic direction to set out a clear, collective, and compelling vision focussed on long term outcomes.
The draft has been shaped by analysis, evidence and extensive engagement on behalf of the REP including contributions from almost 1,000 people who live, work and operate in the South.
The draft strategy – which looks ten years ahead to 2031 – is built around six themes which have been identified as key to creating a greener, fairer and flourishing South of Scotland:
- Skilled and ambitious people
- Innovative and enterprising
- Rewarding and fair work
- Cultural and creative excellence
- Green and sustainable economy
- Thriving and distinct communities
The final version of the strategy is expected to be published in September 2021, following the outcome of this consultation.
Depute Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, and joint chair of the REP, Councillor Rob Davidson, said: “The Regional Economic Strategy is a significant opportunity for the South of Scotland.
“Our focus has always been to create a strategy that endures across the long term and brings a fresh and place-based approach responsive to the South’s circumstances.
“Despite the challenges of COVID-19 we want to continue to listen and reflect what matters to those who live, work and operate across the South, so we would encourage everyone to take part in this important consultation.”
Chair of the REP and Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Economic Regeneration and Finance, Councillor Mark Rowley added: “Taking on board in-depth feedback we have received so far, the draft strategy sets out our clear collective vision that in 2031 the South of Scotland will be green, fair and flourishing.
“We want our values to be around sharing prosperity, thinking differently, making the most of our potential and pioneering environmental responsibility.
“This is another opportunity for individuals, businesses and groups to have your say on the future of the South of Scotland and help refine and strengthen the final version of the strategy.”
Chair of South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), Professor Russel Griggs OBE said: “We have a fantastic opportunity, despite all the challenges we have faced over the last year, to put the South of Scotland firmly on the map.
“We are asking everyone to take the time to give their views because this strategy will be the foundation for the future of our region.
“Please have your say and help ensure our region fulfils its potential and attracts people to live, work, visit, learn and invest in the South.”
Scottish Government Business Minister Ivan McKee added: “As we recover from the pandemic we are pushing forward with an ambitious agenda of economic transformation. This economic strategy will define key areas of opportunity for the south of Scotland and provide a framework for partnership working that will help maximise the region’s future economic potential.
“It is important those who live and work across the south of Scotland help shape their future and so I would encourage everyone with an interest in the region’s economy to contribute to this important consultation.
“The Scottish Government will continue to ensure Scotland attracts new investment by supporting our towns, cities and rural communities to create jobs and opportunities that deliver greater, greener and fairer prosperity. By continuing to work together with business, we will seize Scotland’s economic potential and deliver an economy for everyone.”