South of Scotland SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has secured a late change to the South of Scotland Enterprise Bill to acknowledge the powerful role that cultural and natural heritage plays in the local economy.
In a momentous day for the region, the South of Scotland Enterprise Bill was passed unanimously by Parliament on Wednesday (5/06/2019). This fantastic development comes after many years of campaigning for a South of Scotland Economic Agency which Joan McAlpine has supported in full.
The Bill will establish a new South of Scotland agency which will take a fresh, tailored approach to supporting the economy of the South of Scotland, ensuring the South has the strong role in Scotland’s economy that it deserves and supporting business interests in the region.
Ms McAlpine, who is convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Committee on Culture, Tourism, Europe, and External Relations chose to highlight the work of projects like The Stove Network, Midsteeple Quarter Project, and Creative Futures which all use cultural programmes to drive economic regeneration and community development work in Dumfries town.
Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy Fergus Ewing MSP has said that the new agency could be up and running within 8 months.
Speaking in the Scottish Parliamentary debate, Joan McAlpine said:
“The vibrancy of our areas culture is renowned locally, nationally and internationally.
“From the Abbeys of the Borders to the Castles and Standing Stones of Dumfries and Galloway, the South has a heritage to be proud of.
“Art and culture play an important role in engagement and energising communities and community development which is very much in the spirit of what we’re doing with this Bill.
“The South of Scotland was an important player in Scotland’s early textile industry, its agriculture and forestry sectors are thriving, and it has a growing tourism industry. It also has a diverse business base, many of which are small, and family owned. The economic seeds are all there and, with the right nurturing, can flourish.”