Highlands & Islands

MSPs to review Highlands and Islands Enterprise

HIE website
Image caption HIE's area includes Argyll, Moray and the Northern Isles

A group of MSPs are to begin a review of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Merging the public body with Scottish Enterprise will be investigated by the Scottish Parliament's economy, energy and tourism committee.

The possibility of amalgamating the organisations was raised at Holyrood last October.

The committee should be ready to make public a report from its review early next year.

Earlier this year, 53 staff at HIE accepted voluntary severance packages, leaving the development agency with a workforce of 270.

Since 2008 its budget has been cut by 43%.

'Best value'

The organisation's area includes the Highlands, Western and Northern isles, Argyll and Moray.

A merger with Scottish Enterprise is one of 12 issues to be looked at by the committee.

HIE said it was looking forward to giving evidence during the review and would follow the committee's study with great interest.

A spokesman added: "We have always been committed to delivering high quality services to our clients and the wider community in our region, and achieving best value for the public purse.

"We believe HIE has made an effective transition to the slimmer, more focused model which resulted from the 2007 Enterprise Networks Review and that we can demonstrate strong examples of partnership working with other organisations across the public, private and third sectors."

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