Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has urged the Scottish Government to reconsider plans to merge Highlands and Islands enterprise (HIE) with Scottish Enterprise.
The calls come as reports emerged that Scottish Government Ministers were considering the merger of HIE as part of an ongoing review. Last year the agency moved into a new multi million pound home and has been supporting the local economy for the past 50 years.
Commenting, Mr McArthur said:
“Highlands and Islands Enterprise celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. With a distinctive remit, recognising the social and community dimension to economic development, the agency and its predecessor, HIDB, have reflected the specific needs of the region.
“This does not appear to cut any ice with an SNP government hell-bent on centralising services. Having already centralised HIE’s operations and slashed its budget, it seems Ministers are now looking to go further. If that is the case, it is difficult to see how a takeover of HIE by Scottish Enterprise squares with the First Minister’s commitment to ‘island proofing’ and recognising the distinct needs of island communities.”