Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today called for Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to be replaced with a renewed Highlands and Islands Development Board with greater government and business clout and community accountability. Writing in the Press and Journal, Mr Carmichael highlighted the need for a renewed development structure fit for the challenges of the 21st century and able to deliver on digital infrastructure, green technology and emerging industries in order to avert a second wave of depopulation.
Commenting on the article, Mr Carmichael said:
“It is time for a new approach to development in the Highlands and Islands. We need an agency with a revitalised remit for the issues which will define our region’s future: digital infrastructure; new and emerging industries; green growth. These challenges offer unique opportunities that could make us the envy of the rest of the country.”
“HIE workers in the isles and across the Highlands are dedicated to the success of their communities. For years, however, they have been starved of funds and controlled from the centre. We have a chance now to tap into their existing expertise and experience with a renewed energy and drive. By rebuilding our development structures with greater local accountability and political support we can ensure a strong future for our communities.”