Our Southern Star

Sunset at Powfoot

Over the past year SOSE has, working closely with Dumfries and Galloway and Scottish Borders Councils, provided the leadership and vital support needed to establish the South of Scotland Regional Economic Partnership (REP). The REP brings together a wide range of organisations, sectors and groups who are based in, or work across the South of Scotland, around a shared ambition to secure and enable inclusive and sustainable economic growth across the region.

The REP’s immediate focus is on producing the region’s first ever Regional Economic Strategy (RES), which will set out a clear and long-term vision for the future economic direction of the South of Scotland – our ‘Southern Star’ for all to aim towards.

Development of the strategy has built on the significant work undertaken in the lead up to the formation of SOSE. Extensive additional, inclusive and wide-reaching engagement also took place between February and April, ensuring that those who live, work and operate across the South of Scotland have been able to have their say on what the longer-term priorities for the region should be.

Early engagement findings have reaffirmed that the South has competitive advantages owing to its strategic location in the centre of the UK; the quality of environment and natural assets; sectoral strengths in agriculture, forestry, manufacturing and human health; and that the region possesses a strong sense of identity and community pride.

Looking to the future, there are obvious economic opportunities associated with:

The biggest headline challenges remain that the region needs to retain and attract more working-age people and the transport challenges created by our rurality.

Consultation on the draft Regional Economic Strategy will take place over Summer 2021, with a final version published later in the year. Once in place, the strategy will help shape the actions of individual partners, ensuring greater co-ordination of resources and capabilities to deliver the outcomes we all want to see.