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Launch of Moray Economic Strategy

29 October 2012

A blueprint for the long-term diversification of the Moray economy will be officially launched by the Cabinet Secretary for finance and sustainable growth, John Swinney, today.

The launch of the Moray Economic Strategy coincides with a meeting of the Convention of the Highlands and Islands which is being held in Elgin for the first time and is being hosted by the Moray Council.

The strategy has been produced by the Moray Community Planning Partnership with the aim of achieving a strong, diverse and sustainable economy for Moray and a high quality of life for those who live and work there.

The Partnership brings together business, community groups and agencies and includes Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The need for a long-term strategy emerged following the UK government's far-reaching review of the country's defence capabilities two years ago which led to the closure of RAF Kinloss and uncertainty over the future of the area's other RAF station at Lossiemouth.

The Moray Economic Strategy was prepared in parallel with the Elgin - City For The Future initiative, which focused on Elgin's role as the area's commercial and administrative hub.

Both documents have since been conjoined into the Moray Economic Strategy which Mr Swinney will launch with council leader Allan Wright, who is also chairman of the Community Planning Partnership, at the close of today's meeting of the convention which will be held in St Giles Church.

Mr Swinney said: "The Moray Economic Strategy is an ambitious blueprint which will help attract employment and investment to this area and I am delighted to launch it at the Convention of the Highlands and Islands.

"The Scottish Government and our enterprise agencies will do all we can to assist in the delivery of the strategy. We already have the Forres Business Park as part of our Life Sciences Enterprise Area and we are investing in local infrastructure such as the £45million Forres flood alleviation scheme.

"The UK Government's defence review directly affected the local economy and this document provides the basis for Moray to move forward and build on the achievements of the last year and a half."

Jim Royan, chairman of Moray Economic Partnership, said: "Measured against the challenges of the Moray economic response plan, the partnership believes that over the last 17 months, working with colleagues in the public and private sectors, we have stabilised the economic profile here in Moray.

"I also believe we have helped create a belief and, indeed, ambition to build a growing economy through the new Moray Economic Strategy. The new challenge is to maintain the energy and drive which will be required to further develop the green shoots of success which have emerged since the spring of 2011."

Councillor Wright said: "It is a real pleasure to welcome delegates from across the Highlands and Islands to convention today in Elgin. Our agenda is very much about economic growth, infrastructure, and employment across the whole area.

"It is, therefore, fitting that Mr Swinney is able to conclude the event by launching our economic strategy for Moray and that we will be joined by Jim Royan, who has chaired the economic partnership, and Councillor Fiona Murdoch, who chairs the council's economic development committee and who will be in the vanguard of implementing the strategy."


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