Wanted: Enterprise ‘tsar’ for Argyll and Bute

The Bute Business Park in Rothesay's Barone Road, a 1990s initiative of Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

The Bute Business Park in Rothesay's Barone Road, a 1990s initiative of Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

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Highlands and Islands Enterprise is to increase its resources in Argyll and the Islands by recruiting a new ‘head of special projects’ for the area.

The appointment is the direct result of discussions on how to improve the area’s economy by growing its population and follows a summit on the subject in Dunoon in October.

Argyll and Bute is the only local authority area in the Highlands and Islands region that saw a fall in population between 2001 and 2011, and projections from the National Records of Scotland forecast that decline will continue, and accelerate, over the next 25 years.

Douglas Cowan, HIE area manager for Argyll and the Islands, said: “Economic growth and supporting a growing population are the main priorities of the Argyll and Bute Community Planning Partnership and we are fully engaged in that process.

“There are many factors which impact on the success of the area and the main purpose of this post is to work with our partners to develop and deliver new initiatives and projects that will help transform the Argyll economy.

“While population decline is a concern in parts of Argyll, there are signs of growth pressure in some of our towns and rural areas. Turnover among the businesses we work with here continues to grow and exporting is on the increase.

“Unemployment in and around Dunoon and Bute has also fallen recently and there is continuing interest from existing and potential inward investors.”

The Argyll and the Islands area is one of ten sub-divisions of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the Scottish Government’s economic and community development agency for a region covering more than half of Scotland’s land area.

The closing date for applications for the new post is March 15.