South Scotland enterprise agency swings into action

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TextilesImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Textile production remains an important part of the economy

A new body responsible for stimulating growth and employment opportunities across Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders has officially been launched.

The South of Scotland Enterprise Agency comes into being in difficult economic times due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Its remit is to address the key economic issues facing the area.

However, the immediate challenge is dealing with the far-reaching consequences of the coronavirus lockdown.

The pandemic is have a profound effect on a rural economy heavily dependent on tourism and hospitality, and with high levels of self-employment.

The enterprise agency assumes responsibility from an interim economic partnership which has already put in place a multi-million pound investment programme.

The bulk of the cash has been used to boost college training opportunities in health and social care, renewable energy, engineering and construction.

Among the issues the body hopes to address are low wages, poor productivity, skills shortages and demographic change.