Highlands board wins Holyrood battle
A PLAN by the SNP government to abolish the board of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) was defeated in the Scottish parliament in January.
Opposition MSPs united against the proposal to absorb the HIE into a new ‘super board’ including Scotland’s skills and enterprise agencies and based outside the Highlands.
John Swinney, the deputy first minister, said last year that the government’s ‘intention is that, once established, this overarching board will replace individual agency boards’.
But the initiative was opposed, with MSPs voting 64 to 63 against the SNP at Holyrood on January 18.
After the debate, leader of the Highland Council, Margaret Davidson, said: ‘We would now ask the government to provide guarantees that Highlands and Islands Enterprise will continue to operate on the basis of delivering local decision making.’
Highlands and Islands Conservative MSP Douglas Ross said centralisation plans should now be shelved, and the government should allow HIE to get back to work,