Jan 20 2012 by Stuart Wilson, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
A GOVERNMENT plan to invest in jobs and industry is set to be led by Prestwick.
The aerospace hub has been identified as a key player in helping the future growth of the country.
And the town has been named as a new enterprise area, aiming to create new jobs and attract private investment.
It will make up the general manufacturing enterprise area along with Creative Clyde in Glasgow.
The move is part of an effort from the Scottish government to create more jobs and provide a shot in the arm to the flagging economy.
Now it’s hoped Prestwick’s booming aerospace industry can form one of the key elements of the plan.
And Ayrshire politicians believe the announcement is a sign of the area’s growing importance to Scotland.
South of Scotland MSP, Chic Brodie, was among those who pled Prestwick’s case to government ministers.
He said: “I’m absolutely over the moon at this news and it’s another giant step in the right direction for Prestwick.
“It opens the door for a significant amount of investment in the area and provides a platform for further engineering success stories.
“MSPs throughout Scotland have been promoting the cause of their respective areas, but this announcement proves that South Ayrshire is clearly a major player.”
A total of 14 sites will be included within four enterprise areas across the country.
Irvine’s GlaxoSmithKline factory has also been included as part of the Life Sciences Enterprise Area.
Adam Ingram, MSP for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley, welcomed the news as a huge boost for Ayrshire as a whole.
He said: “I am delighted to welcome this job creating initiative to my constituency.
“I am certainly encouraged with the identification of Prestwick International and GlaxoSmithKline as enterprise sites in Ayrshire.
“I want to see the jobs created accessible to the whole of Ayrshire well beyond the immediate boundaries of the sites themselves.
“Incentives will be available depending on the characteristics of each site which may include reduced business rates.
“There is also a planning protocol in place with COSLA which will encourage key parties, including developers, local authorities, Scottish Government and Agencies to work together in a streamlined planning process.
“The aim is to have Scotland's Enterprise Areas operational from April.
“Scottish Enterprise and the three Ayrshire councils now need to work closely together and with the Ayrshire business community to maximise the economic value derived from this opportunity.”
And Ayr MSP John Scott believes the news is one of the best pieces of news the Ayrshire economy has received in a long time.
He said: “This is extremely welcome news for Prestwick and its future development and growth in both the jobs and aerospace sector.
“Having extensively lobbied Scottish government ministers to bring favoured business to Prestwick, I am delighted with this announcement.
“It has the potential to being tens of millions of pounds in investment into the Prestwick economy over the coming years and secure a lot of jobs.”
Scottish cabinet secretary, John Swinney, was in Ayrshire on Tuesday morning to make the announcement.
He said: “As a government we are doing all we can to support jobs and create the best possible business conditions to achieve sustainable economic growth for Scotland.
“Enterprise Areas are another means to help us achieve this and form a key part of our government economic strategy.”
Scottish Enterprise managing director of operations, Jim McFarlane, added: “The new Enterprise Area programme is great news for Scotland and will be key to encouraging greater business growth and investment.
“We particularly welcome the focus on manufacturing and anticipate that all the designated areas will offer significant potential to stimulate and deliver new jobs in some of Scotland's leading industry sectors such as renewable energy, life sciences and creative industries.
“Enterprise Area status will further enhance each location's offering and help give a competitive edge in today's current challenging investment environment.”