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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-05194: Liam McArthur (Orkney Islands)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 30 November 2016

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5O-00370 by John Swinney on 23 November 2016 (Official Report, c. 6), whether Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) will retain its strengthening communities remit and, if so, what action it will take to ensure that HIE will continue to exercise this function.

Answered by: Fergus Ewing 15 December 2016

This Government wants to see the strongest possible links between the work of HIE, Skills Development Scotland and the Funding Council to ensure that the support we are providing to train our young people, improve the skills of our workforce, support our businesses and communities is aligned with the economic needs of the Highlands and Islands and of Scotland.

HIE senior management will continue to work in the same way as they do now but will benefit from the coordination provided by the new Scotland-wide Statutory board.

In addition we will consider areas including remuneration, risk and assurance currently carried out by current Board committees.

As part of the work being taken forward in Phase two of the Enterprise and Skills Review we will consider the formation, format and remit of the new Scotland-wide Statutory board. This will include what needs to be put in place in relation to budgets, appraisal, monitoring and evaluation of a range of areas including performance measures of HIE and their operational plans to ensure that HIE continues to be able to deliver an excellent service to the Highlands and Islands.

Similarly HIE will continue to engage with local authorities and Business Gateway to deliver effective support to businesses.

Businesses and communities will continue to access services across the Highlands and Islands area.

HIE will retain its Chief Executive based at its headquarters in Inverness, staff will also continue to operate from the Headquarters in Inverness and HIE’s area-based locations across the area from Lerwick to Lochgilphead.

This Government has made it clear that we will maintain the dedicated support including HIE’s strengthening communities remit which is locally based, managed and directed by HIE and protects the unique services that HIE delivers for our Highlands and Islands economy.