High­lands board wins Holy­rood bat­tle

Fish Farmer - - United Kingdom News -

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,

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