Holyrood update - June
Overview of CBI Scotland engagement with politicians and policy makers in Scotland and Westminster
The CBI Scotland team maintained 2018’s high pace of political engagement throughout the last month, with a number of meetings and engagements taking place with both Scottish and UK government ministers and officials.
CBI Brussels Director Sean McGuire was joined by the Scottish Government’s Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe, Michael Russell MSP, at a roundtable discussion with a number of Japanese companies in Edinburgh. Sean shared his insights and perserspectives on the European side of Brexit negotiations with a room full of key inward investors. At the event, held in partnership with the Consulate General of Japan, Mr Russell outlined the Scottish Government’s continuing priorities for negotiations before meeting with Sean and CBI Scotland Director Tracy Black for a private discussion. Sean and Tracy also held separate meetings with the Scottish Conservatives’ Deputy Leader, Jackson Carlaw MSP, and Scottish Labour’s Brexit Spokesperson, Neil Findlay MSP.
Elsewhere the focus was on trade, as Tracy and Mari met with the Scottish Government’s new Director for International Trade and Investment, Kevin Quinlan, and Gregor attended a roundtable discussion with the Permanent Secretary at the UK Department for International Trade, Antonia Romeo. Supporting Scottish firms’ international ambitions and ensuring they have access to the skills they need to grow their international presence was top of the agenda in both discussions.
On the economy, Tracy attended a breakfast event with the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Constitution, Derek Mackay MSP, to discuss the Scottish Government’s new National Performance Framework - the NPF being the long-term vision the Scottish Government will use to measure our national well-being. Tracy discussed how business could support the framework and the importance of not being overly prescriptive. Tracy and Mari also met with the Scottish Government’s Director General for the Economy, Liz Ditchburn, where the discussion centred on the value of business.
Finally, skills and digital connectivity were also on the agenda this month. The team attended a roundtable with the Minister for Employability and Training, Jamie Hepburn MSP, examining what a successful skills system for the 21st century should look like. Meanwhile, Hugh Aitken facilitated a meeting between Cisco, ScotRail and the Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf MSP, to discuss digital connectivity. A productive conversation took place around options for improving wifi services on Scottish railways and using existing fibre infrastructure on the railways to help deliver the Scottish Government’s target of every home and business in Scotland to have access to superfast broadband by 2021.