Highland Council has stated its resounding opposition to centralising the Highlands and Islands Enterprise board.
They have voted (THURS) 44-14 in favour of a motion registering their “disappointment” at the Scottish Government proposal to abolish the HIE board, arguing that it would “not be in the best interests” of the region.
Council leader Margaret Davidson said: “What we’ve got ahead of us is a disturbing prospect. To take away the board of HIE is a real signal that the entity of HIE would be weakened and I think we’ve all got that base fear.
“There has been far too much centralisation in recent years with government and the last thing we need is a ‘super board’ headed by the cabinet secretary. What independence would it have?
“We spent 50 years investing in and raising the population here in Highland. We’re now on the brink of coming out of Europe and my biggest fear is that growth in population rolls backwards and we lose some of our real talent.
“To take the board away and that level of independence is one step too far.”
Backed by a large contingent of cross-party colleagues, she argued that the council should have more input in shaping future strategy of projects overseen by HIE.