Update from Holyrood
An overview of the month's engagement with Scottish politicians and policy makers.
CBI Scotland ran a roundtable, kindly hosted by Accenture, with Mike Russell, Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe. The Minister provided an overview of the state of the EU negotiations while members highlighted their priorities. There was also a constructive discussion about the current political and economic landscape in Scotland and how to take forward a shared vision for business in Scotland.
Later, CBI Scotland held its annual Christmas reception at the Scotland Office at Dover House, London. Preceding the event, the CBI ran an Industrial Strategy roundtable with new Scotland Office Director, Gillian McGregor CBE, for members to feedback initial reactions to the UK Government’s White Paper. All members were in agreement that joint working between all levels of government and between government and business is necessary and that skills shortages remain a persistent and important challenge to overcome. New CBI Scotland vice-chair Debbie Crosby opened the reception of 80 business members, MPs and peers.
Director Hugh Aitken attended the Scottish Government’s Digital Infrastructure Expert Group, which discussed the Scottish Government’s R100 programme and the implications of Brexit for digital connectivity. Hugh stressed the importance of digital connectivity to improving productivity across Scotland, as highlighted in our recent Pursuing Prosperity report. Hugh also continued to advance the CBI’s cyber engagement through participating in the most recent meeting of the Cyber Leader’s Resilience Board
Deputy Director Tracy Black and CBI Scotland Chair, Graham Hutcheon, attended the Scottish Business Growth Group hosted by Keith Brown and Lord Duncan. Trade, Brexit and Industrial Strategy were all discussed. Tracy outlined CBI’s positioning on these issues, highlighted insights from CBI members and pressed home the importance of focussing on productivity enhancing measures.
CBI Scotland were also present at last week’s National Economic Forum where the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Chair of the Scottish Government's Strategic Board for Enterprise and Skills, Nora Senior, outlined the Scottish Government’s priorities for the economy. Attending the Industrial Strategy breakout session, there was broad agreement on a need to create a clear vision for industrial strategy in Scotland.