I am delighted to launch this consultation seeking your views on the new Enterprise Agency for the South of Scotland. I want to ensure that we hear from a wide range of people to inform the development of the new Agency.
We have the opportunity to be bold and ambitious, to transform the area's economy, building on its significant strengths and traditions.
The South of Scotland is a beautiful region with a long and important history in our economy. It nurtured Scotland's textile industry, its agriculture and forestry sectors are thriving, and a growing tourism industry attracts visitors from far and wide. Its entrepreneurial spirit is reflected in its diverse business base, many of which are small and family owned. In its towns and villages, people report a stronger sense of belonging to their local community than people in Scotland as a whole. The economic seeds are all there and with the right nurturing can greatly flourish.
In the Enterprise and Skills Review, we asked the South of Scotland what it wanted from its future. You told us clearly you wanted to see: a strong workforce, a skilled business base, thriving communities, and more opportunities. We share this vision. That's why we made the commitment that the South of Scotland should have its own Enterprise Agency, to lead on bringing that vision to life.
We've set out what we see as the initial high level aims for the Agency. We want it to drive the economy forward with growth that creates opportunities for all, where the benefits of increased prosperity are shared. We want it to sustain and grow communities so that people thrive in the places where they live and work. And we want it to capitalise on the people and resources of the South, making the most of the assets to address exclusion and assist growth. We will continue to listen to you in developing an Agency with the right powers carrying out the right activities to deliver that ambition. Working together we can deliver a body that can make the difference.
Building on our combined achievements, we want an Agency that can unlock potential, address opportunities and respond to needs, to make sure that the South has the strong role in Scotland's economy that it deserves. We want the South of Scotland to drive forward its own future, a future created of the South, by the South and for the South. And we want to ensure we're doing all we can to see that this future is one of fair work and inclusive growth.
That's why it's important we hear from you in this consultation: to find out what matters to you, to your businesses, your industries and your communities. This is your opportunity to shape the future, to tell us what is important to you.
Thank you for taking the time to respond. I look forward to the dialogue.
Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work