This week, Michelle Ballantyne MSP spoke in the Scottish Parliament debate around the South of Scotland Enterprise.
During her speech, the South Scotland politician spoke about the need to address digital connectivity and employment opportunities for young people.
She highlighted that the Borders is lagging behind the rest of Scotland when it comes to superfast broadband roll-out. Borderers’ access to superfast broadband is 10% below the national average. Mrs Ballantyne then highlighted that the South of Scotland Enterprise could be used as an opportunity to address this.
Another issue that was raised was regarding employment opportunities and training for young people.
The Scottish Borders has an aging population, with over-65s accounting for almost a quarter of Borders residents. There have also been high levels of out-migration for young people.
Michelle Ballantyne highlighted the need to incentivise young people to work in the Borders to offset this.
Michelle Ballantyne MSP commented:
“I am heartened to see the high level of investment from both the UK and Scottish Governments that is set to be rolled-out in the Borders over the next decade as part of the Borderlands Growth Deal.
“With £150m of funding dedicated to the Scottish Borders, I am hopeful that South of Scotland Enterprise will help improve digital connectivity and make the Borders an attractive place for young people to live and work.
“This Bill provides a real chance to shape the economic future of the Borders, and to make the most of this chance we need to create an agency with teeth that has the power and connections necessary to support the Borders not just for now, but for the future.”