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Highland MSP calls for Highlands and Islands Enterprise budget to be safeguarded

By Alasdair Fraser

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David Stewart MSP at Holyrood
David Stewart MSP at Holyrood

A Highland MSP today pressed Scotland’s trade minister to spare the budget of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) from further cuts.

Labour’s David Stewart spoke in support of HIE’s key role in economic and community development across the region during debate in the Scottish Parliament and urged protection of funding underpinning that work.

Mr Stewart also called on Ivan McKee, Scotland’s Minister for trade, investment and innovation, to recognise the “first class work” being done by medical companies like Lifescan, the Centre for Health Science and ODx Innovations in Inverness.

Asking the minister to join him in congratulating HIE for the work they do, Mr Stewart also queried what was being done to attract inward investment, retain jobs and improve training and development.

In response, the minister said he shared Mr Stewart’s appreciation of the “great work of Highlands and Islands Enterprise”, and the cluster of medical and life science companies in Inverness.

Mr McKee insisted “a lot of effort” was being made to attract inward investment and pointed to a new foreign investment plan to be launched in the next few weeks.

He added: “It identifies very clearly a strategic approach and the key sectors that we want to focus on to try to attract inward investment.

“I can let the member know that it’s no secret life sciences is one of the key sectors that we will be very much focussing on to attract global investment into Scotland.”

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