New laps for old? The industrial strategies of Scottish Enterprise

Halkier, Henrik (1992) New laps for old? The industrial strategies of Scottish Enterprise. Quarterly Economic Commentary, 17 (4). pp. 56-65. ISSN 0306-7866

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The merger of the Scottish Development Agency with the Training Agency's Scottish operation has dominated the industrial policy scene in Scotland since the conception of Scottish Enterprise in 1988. From the very beginning the scheme was shrouded in political controversy, and during the extensive period of reorganization a considerable body of academic writing has been devoted to exposing potential weaknesses of the new institutional set-up. This paper presents a first attempt to assess the actual record of Scottish Enterprise in order to 1) establish to what extent the new body represents a departure from the SDA legacy, and 2) discuss the possible implications of its corporate strategies for the future of this new two-tier network of regional development agencies. The paper proceeds in three steps. In order to establish the degree of continuity and change at the corporate level, first the early industrial strategies and then the proposed expenditure patterns of Scottish Enterprise are analyzed and compared to those of the SDA in the late 1980s. Finally the significance of these results are discussed as a preliminary indicator of the relationship of SEN to the LECs and the Scottish Office.