18 May 2018

  |  CBI Scotland


View from Holyrood

Overview of CBI Scotland political engagement throughout the month of May.

View from Holyrood

In addition to engagement with Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington at the CBI Scotland annual lunch, Ruth Davidson MSP at diversity and inclusion event and Scottish MPs at a Westminster roundtable, Tracy and the team held a number of meetings with politicians and policy makers, both in Holyrood and Westminster, to discuss a range of issues crucial to Scottish business.

Whilst visiting London, Tracy met with the SNP’s Westminster Leader Ian Blackford. Brexit was top of the agenda, with Tracy stressing that companies are far less interested in the constitutional issues involved in repatriating EU powers than with ‘ease of doing business’. Tracy reiterated that firms in Scotland are more focussed on every day issues like attracting and retaining talent, regulation and standards and access to crucial UK and EU markets.  

Also in London, Tracy held an introductory meeting with Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, Leslie Laird. Tracy outlined CBI Scotland’s key priorities, including boosting productivity and protecting Scotland’s competitiveness. Tracy also spoke about the importance of maintaining a single UK-wide immigration policy that gives Scottish businesses the flexibility they need to attract talent.  

Back in Scotland, the team met with Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy to promote greater partnership between the Scottish Government and the business community in making the case for greater inward investment in Scotland. Tracy also communicated key messages around productivity and competitiveness.

Also at Holyrood, Tracy and the team met with Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Skills and Employability to discuss key issues relating to the upskilling and retraining of Scottish workers. CBI Scotland has been consistent in calling for the Scottish Government to make significant improvements to the Flexible Workforce Development Fund aspect of the Apprenticeship Levy and reiterated this point to the Minister. The team also sought assurances on the future direction of skills policy in Scotland.  

Tracy further met with Lesley Events, the Scottish Government Permanent Secretary, and, in a wide-ranging conversation, outlined CBI Scotland’s views on productivity, competitiveness and immigration. She also gave a detailed overview of the CBI’s role in ensuring business views are heard in EU negotiations.

The team was further delighted to welcome Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Rebecca Long-Bailey, and Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, Jackie Baillie, to our quarterly council meeting. Taking questions from council members, they provided an update on Labour’s thinking around the UK Industrial Strategy.