[B]usinesses and communities are being urged to grasp the opportunity to drive forward the region’s economy at a special conference.
More than 300 business representatives, public sector organisations and individuals have signed up for the first Borderlands conference taking place next week.
Delegates will hear the latest from UK and Scottish government ministers and local politicians on proposals to promote economic growth and competitiveness in the five local authority areas straddling the Scotland-England border.
The conference, the first of its kind, will be held in Dumfries on Monday 18 June at Easterbrook Hall, Dumfries. Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Cllr Elaine Murray said: “The Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal is the key to the future of economic development for the Borderlands area and we are delighted to be holding the inaugural conference in our region.
“By coming together under one umbrella, each of the Borderlands’ five regions have recognised that we have common issues and challenges, but also common aspirations, and we can better achieve these aspirations by working together and pooling resources. There is strength in numbers and together we can lobby both the Scottish and Westminster Governments to recognise our shared ambition.”
Now a senior business figure operating both north and south of the Border will give an industrial and commercial perspective on the opportunities that Borderlands presents.
Brendan Dick, the Managing Director of BT Regions and Director of BT Scotland, will deliver a keynote address at the June 18 conference at Easterbrook Hall in Dumfries.
Mr Dick, responsible for developing BT’s activities across Scotland, Wales and the English regions, said: “The Borderlands conference is a unique opportunity for all sectors of the economy to make a step change in how a focused and collaborative approach to shaping the future will drive success. It’s success that all of us strive for and it is achievable.”
Mr Dick will speak alongside David Mundell MP, Secretary of State for Scotland and Keith Brown, MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work.
The conference comes at a key time for the partnership, made up of Carlisle City Council, Cumbria County Council, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Northumberland County Council and Scottish Borders Council. A team from both sides of the Border is building a case to present to both the UK and Scottish governments later this year. They want to hear from delegates about their aspirations and ambitions for the deal.
Breakout sessions will be held seeking views on the Borderlands’ key themes: Digital; Energy; Destination Borderlands; Rural Productivity; Business Growth; Transport; Innovation and Skills and Quality of Place.
A Borderlands Partnership spokesperson said: “It’s very important that the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal has support and input from the world of business. We really want to know what our employers and all sections of society across this vast area believe can fast-forward the economy.
“The conference has sparked wide-ranging interest and we look forward to hearing views that will help inform the Deal as it moves forward.”