BORDERS politicians have launched a campaign for Hawick to be the location for the new South of Scotland Enterprise Agency.

Conservatives John Lamont MP, Rachael Hamilton MSP and Hawick and Hermitage councillor George Turnbull have backed calls for the bulk of the agency to be based in Border town.

The Scottish Government is currently consulting on the details of the agency, after setting up an interim board at the beginning of the year.

The consultation puts forward a number of suggestions on its location, including a single central HQ or a number of small offices complementing an HQ.

Although details about the staffing of the agency are yet to be decided, Highlands and Islands Enterprise employs more than 300 local people in high quality jobs.

Mr Lamont said: “It is great to see the plans for a new South of Scotland Enterprise Agency moving forward. I am clear that it needs to be properly funded, run by people with local knowledge and based in the Scottish Borders.

“Hawick would be an excellent location for an HQ and is well placed to cover both the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway [the two council areas which will be served by the new agency].

“I also think that if Hawick was to get the agency, it would add to the town’s prestige and strengthen the case for extending the Borders Railway.”

Mrs Hamilton added: “Hawick is on an exciting journey that will make a great town greater.

“Hawick is ripe for opportunity and recent business commitments, such as from the Three Stills distillery, are a sure sign of future success.

“The enterprise agency HQ in Hawick would be a significant sign from the Scottish Government that Hawick will lay the foundations for a renewed and revitalised Scottish Borders and South Scotland region.”

Councillor Turnbull said: “Hawick would be a perfect location for the new South of Scotland Enterprise Agency.

“It would be ideally based geographically to serve both Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders.

“With the new airport facility at Carlisle opening for commercial flights in June this year and less than an hour away from Hawick, this would be a golden opportunity to add to the regeneration of the town and create new jobs which would benefit Hawick in so many ways.

“This is an opportunity that should not be missed and I am confident that all local representatives will do their utmost to build a robust case for the headquarters to be based in Hawick.”