Parliament gathered to consider how best to support and develop communities and businesses on the Isle of Skye.
On the 2nd of November 2010 the Scottish Parliament met to gather evidence regarding the current state of businesses in the Highlands and Islands, and more specifically on the Isle of Skye.
The Scottish Parliaments economy, energy and tourism committee (EET) met with businesses and organisations from the area to talk about the challenges faced by the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) in this present state of economic uncertainty. Businesses included were Jansavans, Skyeskyns and AROS.
Iain Smith MSP, Convener of the Economic, Energy and Tourism Committee said; “Our meeting in Skye provided us with the ideal opportunity to hear about the specific needs of businesses in more remote and fragile parts of the country.”
The EET meeting held this week in Sabhal Mor Ostaig, (Kilbeg, Skye) the National Centre for Gaelic language and culture, discussed the worrying issue of Scotland’s enterprise network merging with HIE due to the ‘lack of local accountability and reduced understanding of specific business and social needs in the area.’ This is being explained by budget cuts which have reduced the amount of expertise and local knowledge in the HIE, however the evidence gathered in Parliament highlighted how important this enterprises role is in bringing communities together and how it must be continued to be taken advantage of. Local businesses drew attention to the dramatic changes taken place in recent years, where the Business Gateway service was introduced in 2009, a company who provide advice to business owners. They also gave accounts of their experience of working with the HIE. Iain Smith continues; “This valuable evidence will be used to help compile our report next year which will help form a blueprint for promoting economic growth across Scotland, from urban centres to rural areas, such as Skye.” Smith also stated the report will take into account the budget cuts, “it’s vital to examine whether it is reasonable to ask the likes of Scottish Enterprise, HIE and Scottish Development International to do the same job as before with smaller budgets and fewer employees.”