Our local economy continues to show long term signs of recovery, with levels of unemployment lower than the Scottish average, and employment rates higher. Many tourism and related businesses are already feeling the benefit of the Borders Railway (opened in September 2015) and the region is starting to see some exciting investment in diverse sectors such as brewing and distilling, for example in Hawick, Jedburgh, and Tweedbank.
We support the local economy in a variety of ways:
- Our Economic Development services (including Business Gateway) run schemes, in partnership, to assist people back into work, as well as supporting new business startups and growth and encouraging inward investment
- We spend significant amounts of money in the local economy each month with suppliers and contractors e.g. on school transport contracts, on supplies and service etc.
- Through working with partners, we enable house building and we approve planning applications and building warrants which then allows building works
- Through our 10 year Capital Programme, we support the local construction industry, for example, when we build new schools or flood protection works. Large contracts also provide “community benefits” e.g. apprenticeships, school visits, environmental improvements etc
Priorities for the future
- Ongoing work to fully realise the full economic benefits of the Borders Railway (including more jobs, investment, and population growth)
- Continue to lobby for improved digital connectivity (broadband and mobile) for the whole region
- Develop strong employer/school partnerships to develop young people’s skills for work
- Continue to work with partners to provide more affordable housing
- Develop partnerships with other areas to benefit the Borders, for example with Dumfries and Galloway to lobby on rural issues
- Realise as much benefit as we can for local businesses and communities through the contracts we let