The Deputy First Minister has announced that Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) will lose its governing board today at Holyrood, along with other enterprise agencies.
Uncertainty over the future of HIE has spiked since a review of enterprise and skills recommended a single board be introduced.
At parliamentary questions this afternoon, John Swinney MSP confirmed that the government’s “intention is that, once established, this overarching board will replace individual agency boards”.
Commenting afterwards, Tavish Scott said:
"This is the end for bespoke economic development in the Highlands and Islands. HIE will become a branch office of the Scottish government. There will be no board to provide a Highlands and Islands focus - instead once again there will be top down centralised control from the central belt.
"This is the latest centralisation imposed by the SNP. I will work with all parties to attempt to stop this retrograde step as the Scottish government attempt to railroad this through Holyrood. Given the SNP councillors on Highland Council oppose this move, it will be a true test of SNP Highland and Island MSPs. Will they put their party before their areas? The Highlands and Islands will be watching closely."