MSP Joan McAlpine joined local stakeholders as the SNP Scottish Government hosted a jobs summit in Langholm on Friday.
The summit was called after Ms McAlpine contacted Ministers about the recent spate of job losses in the town.
Business Minister Paul Wheelhouse stressed the need for economic development agencies to be clearer about what help was available for small businesses – and that the new South of Scotland Enterprise Agency will play a vital role in helping Langholm going forward.
The Minister called on local stakeholders to outline what help they felt the town needed and said solutions must be community lead with local businesses playing their part.
During the meeting it was also suggested that a ‘brand’ could be an option, following in the footsteps of Wigtown Book Town, which has been a great success.
Commenting, Joan McAlpine said:
“The summit on Friday was a chance for local stakeholders to let the Scottish Government know what they need – and for the Government to outline what help is already available.
“I have been and will continue to work hard with Chris Harrison of Waulkmill to support his idea of making Langholm a ‘distillery destination’ – but it is clear that the whole community needs to come together to drive change.”
The summit also highlighted some of the good work going on in the town as a result of the Scottish Government’s Community Empowerment laws.
The MSP said:
“I was delighted to hear that the Eskdale Foundation are already using the Government’s community empowerment laws to develop the Old Police Station.
“They talked about accessing funding through the Scottish Government’s Scottish Land Fund and the Rural Housing Fund. They are clearly real self-starters and an example to follow.
“This just shows what can be done when the community comes together and people know what help is available.”
Ms McAlpine also asked for assurance that Scottish Enterprise and the Council were talking to the Edinburgh Woollen Mill – who are threatening to move their headquarters south of the border – to match any offer they received from Carlisle City Council.
However, the MSP was told that these talks were of a private nature and would not be made public.
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