Scots enterprise agencies ‘may be merged’

Labour MSP David Stewart

Labour MSP David Stewart said he will fight for the continuation of the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) economic agency following a report by an economic consultant that suggests the Scottish Government is considering a merger of Inverness-based HIE with Glasgow-based Scottish Enterprise.

The Highlands and Islands MSP said the Mackay Consultants’ monthly report suggesting Holyrood is considering merging HIE with Scottish Enterprise came after Inverness based consultant Tony Mackay held meetings with MSPs and ministers in Edinburgh last week.

“Obviously it is something that we have feared over many years as we’ve seen the agency shrink in size and lose its campaigning voice for the Highlands and Islands,” said Stewart.

“With the departure of chief executive Alex Paterson and an interim chief executive appointed, there have been rumours that this could be the end for the agency in the region.

“What I find incredible is that a consultant appears to be given insider information while MSPs, who represent this area, are being kept in the dark.”

Stewart said he will seek an urgent meeting with the Secretary for the Economy Keith Brown.