Industry urges economy focus after FM resigns

Convenience chiefs react to Humza Yousaf’s resignation

Industry members have called on the new first minister to focus on Scotland’s economy going forward after Humza Yousaf announced his resignation.                                                                                                                                      Photo credit:

INDUSTRY leaders have called for a renewed focus on Scotland’s economy following the announcement that first minister Humza Yousaf is set to resign.

Following a week of turmoil for the outgoing First Minister, Yousaf announced his resignation from the position on 29 April, shortly after ending the Bute House coalition agreement with the Scottish Greens.

Just over a year on from the previous one, the SNP now faces yet another leadership contest with members from the convenience sector calling for the new FM to take a renewed focus on Scotland’s economy.

David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC), said: “The SRC valued our engagement with First Minister Humza Yousaf and his government, in particular the SRC was an early supporter of his attempts to reset the relationship with industry through his New Deal for Business.

“His successor’s preeminent priority should be economic recovery. There is a pressing need to lift private sector investment, productivity, and growth. After all, an expanding economy is good for living standards, job prospects, and government revenues.

“Central to this should be a plan to ease the regulatory burden, and lower the tax burden on business by scrapping the mooted public health surtax on grocery stores, and finally delivering on the pledge to restore business rates parity with England for medium-sized and larger commercial premises.

“The SRC looks forward to engaging positively and constructively with the next First Minister and Ministerial team to prioritise private sector growth and deliver that recovery.”

The SNP now faces another vote on its party leader in the coming weeks, with early names thrown about such as the former deputy first minister John Swinney, the current education secretary Jenny Gilruth or health secretary Neil Gray.

David Thomson, chief executive at the Food and Drink Federation Scotland, has echoed the call for stability as the country’s transitions to its next leader with the aim to continue the support for Scotland’s lucrative food and drink industry.

He said: “Scotland has a fantastic food and drink industry, supporting everyone’s daily lives and providing great jobs and careers across the country. Our success is central to driving sustainable economic growth for Scotland.

“We need a stable Scottish Government to provide the confidence needed for manufacturers to invest in making their businesses more resilient, productive and sustainable.

“We look forward to an early meeting with the new First Minister – once appointed – to discuss how we can work together to ensure the future success of Scotland’s food and drink industry.”