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The truths they don't want you to read....

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

HIE - a new structure or its demise?

The Scottish Parliament is gathering evidence about the future for HIE after the demise of the LECs such as Western Isles Enterprise

You may want to add your comments here, especially with regard to having some form of development agency based in the North of Scotland.

In my view, HIE became an Inverness Development Agency, and any successor must be more rural focused, which means decentralising the organisation - something the organisation tries to encourage in potential investors in the area - but without replicating an administration structure across numerous offices.

The transfer of budgets and responsibilities to the Comhairle has been, by and large, a success; the credit for which must lie with the officers of the Comhairle. However, this has led to the HIE becoming even more Inverness-centric, something most observers considered impossible.

One area not up for debate is the slashing of the budgets for economic development by the Scottish Government which will seriously undermine economic growth in future years.


Anonymous said...

Can't agree with you on that one, it has not been a success since it moved to the comhairle. Its actually a lot worse. It is now impossible for a business to get any significant funding, but if you're a local not for profit charity then after the usual mountains of paperwork you might be in luck.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that unless you were in the know with the right people who are in the club who ran a harris tweed thong appreciation society, a windfarm building factory that is 5 times the price of anywhere else in the world, a company on the brink of bankruptcy or a sinking fishing boat you were ever likely to get funding from the "Enterprise" Company. But then some call me a cynic. Good riddance....

Anonymous said...

Less tax,less bureaucrats & less interference from Governments is the only thing that can now help Western Isles
So Goodbye HIE and remove CNES powers to "help" business,& remove staff there too to minimum
The army of "development" self-serving nincompoops incl the gaelic ones should be told **** off too

Anonymous said...

Some of the decisions they have taken have been truly questionable. The call centre building in Daliburgh built at a cost of many hundreds of pounds and lain empty since built about seven years ago springs to mind. They would have been better off giving every adult in South Uist £18,ooo each and as an enterprise scheme see what they could do with it.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure I'm not alone in finding this very funny.

Anonymous said...

The empty call centre in Daliburgh is indeed a disgrace especially as WIE had flatly refused to build a (much smaller) call centre on Barra a couple of years earlier. This had the benefit of tenant and an end user (customer), whereas the Daliburgh project was entirely speculative.

Anonymous said...

There has never been speculative building by HIE or the Comhairle on Barra and there is still no accommodation available to rent anywhere on the island!

The enterprise companies were originally modelled on the SDA (Scottish Development Agency) which in turn was modelled on a highly successful venture
called GEAR (Glasgow East End Renewal). The fundamental difference was that GEAR was founded and run by local business people, whereas all the Enterprise companies since then have been run by civil servants. As previous posts have mentioned getting money out of civil servants is an interesting exercise.

The future, however, could be different. SRDP is a (turgid, wordy, impenetrable) attempt to introduce some transparency and focus to funding in Scotland.

But really what is needed is to empower AND FUND local businesses and business groups to stimulate economic activity.

Eilean Fada Enterprise Fund (EFEF) could be the next big thing!

Dr Evadne said...

Here in sunny S. Lochs we have some HIE funded buildings to rent. Brand new and un-touched, unused, and in pristine condition. I give you the Tabost buisness units that have been empty for 3 years. Hailed as a real asset to the area by councillors and other plonkers alike. Situated in the middle of nowhere, surely someone would want to set up a business there? Excellent access to empty moorland and just minutes from, Eisgein and the proposed SSE Pairc windfarm. Can you see a picture emerging here?
PS I see that Arnish is going down the pan again even though HIE/the Scottish government are going to bung another £3 million in there.

Anonymous said...

Maybe HIE should consider their narrow remit for Arnish. It is absolutely clear that focusing solely on turbines is not resulting in consistent activity. Note the following from the Scotsman:

"Steel giant Corus has unveiled plans to develop an offshore wind farm business and create 220 jobs on the site of a mothballed plant in Teesside.

The European division of Indian steelmaker Tata has started building work on a new facility to produce steel structures to fix wind turbines to the seabed."

Maybe we should be concerned for sustainable employment rather than HIE's political agendas and BiFab should be freed up to pursue whatever opportunities arise.