Eight Scottish local authorities in the West of Scotland are to join forces to increase business and job opportunities for the region.
The local authorities are all members of the Glasgow City Region City Deal partnership, supported by UK and Scottish Government funding.
Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan, a member of the City Deal Cabinet and the lead member for enterprise in the region, has put forward the plan in response to the Scottish Government consultation on enterprise agencies which closed on Monday 15 August.
The proposal for a City Region Enterprise and Jobs Hub will formalise a joint approach from Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow, East and West Dunbartonshire, Inverclyde and North and South Lanarkshire Councils to support business and employment opportunities across a wider geographical area, rather than focusing solely within their own geographical boundaries.
The paper reflects UK and international research which supports a regional approach to supporting enterprise, rather than the national sectoral approach currently in place in Scotland and subject to the Scottish Government consultation.
Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said, “It’s clear from evidence not only across the UK but also across the world, that the current nationwide sectoral approach to enterprise does not empower local decision makers to tackle the specific issues that hold back economic productivity in their area.
“In the West we have major businesses, a significant population and like the rest of Scotland, challenges that are specific to our region and if we are to successfully address these, we must have the flexibility and resource to effectively tackle these challenges head on.
“By joining forces, we can prioritise the issues that will affect us across the region and join our resources to be more efficient in how we do that. We are ambitious for what we can achieve in the West of Scotland – not only for our local communities but for the whole of Scotland and we need to be able to support businesses and develop skills if we are to achieve those ambitions or Scotland will be left behind.
“We recognise the need for change and are taking this step to join our resource to ensure we are able to address the challenges ahead and we welcome the Scottish Government consultation. I would urge the First Minister to recognise this regional approach as key to securing our economic success.”
It is expected that an action plan outlining next steps for the City Region Enterprise and Jobs Hub will be published later this year following engagement and consultation with local and national business, enterprise, education and transport partners.