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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-06871: Oliver Mundell (Dumfriesshire)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 3 February 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what financial support it has given to support economic regeneration in Langholm.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 6 March 2017

The Scottish Government's substantial investment in infrastructure, regeneration and business support across Dumfries and Galloway helps to deliver inclusive economic growth in towns such as Langholm.

The infrastructure investment made across Dumfries and Galloway, which benefits economic growth, includes:

  • road investment - over £23 million invested maintaining the A7 between Galashiels and the English Border since 2007, with a significant programme of further work being delivered;

  • digital investment - 95% of premises in Dumfries and Galloway will benefit from access to fibre broadband provided by Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband by the end of 2017, with fibre-based broadband now available in Langholm; and

  • school investment - contributing £24.5 million as part of Scotland's Schools for the Future Programme for 3 projects in Dumfries and Galloway with a total value of £85.9 million.

We also fund initiatives that directly benefit local employers in Dumfries and Galloway, including:

  • business support - through Scottish Enterprise which account manages 51 companies in Dumfries and Galloway and has, since 2015/16, made offers of Regional Selective Assistance of £1.75 million;

  • business support - through our funding of the local authority delivered Business Gateway which supported 344 start ups in Dumfries and Galloway in 2015/6 and received £0.914 million under the 2014-20 ERDF Programme to Dumfries and Galloway Council for a Business Gateway project to target SMEs with growth potential and assist them with their growth ambitions;

  • business support - over 5,000 properties are benefiting from reduced or zero business rates in Dumfries and Galloway under the Small Business Bonus Scheme this year. The Scheme has saved Dumfries and Galloway businesses over £44 million since it was established in 2008;

  • skills support - 765 Modern Apprentice starts in 2015-16; and

  • skills support - a 3 year funding package of £580,000 allocated in October 2015 to the Developing the Young Workforce Dumfries and Galloway Regional Group.

Our regeneration funding also contributes to economic resilience across the area, including:

  • funding of over £70,000 provided to the Upper Eskdale Development Group through the Strengthening Communities Programme in 2014-15 to increase resilience and sustainability of the organisation; and

  • Stranraer Town Centre Regeneration Initiative to benefit from £1.8 million from the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund in 2016-17, in addition to £790,000 from the Town Centre Regeneration Fund in 2009-10.

We are committed to helping communities across Scotland realise their growth ambitions. I held a roundtable in Langholm on 3 February drawing together the community, businesses and key public sector agencies to discuss the community's ambitions for future growth in their town. I look forward to working with the community to help deliver their aspirations for growth and employment.

In our Enterprise and Skills Review, we recognised the unique needs of the south of Scotland and are taking forward our commitment to establish a new vehicle to meet the enterprise and skills needs of the area which will be of benefit to communities, including Langholm.