Support for Swinney and Forbes

Retail chiefs welcome new Scottish leaders

The return of Kate Forbes to the Scottish cabinet has been welcomed by retail bosses.

INDUSTRY leaders have said they aim to work closely with the new first minister and deputy first minister to support the Scottish retail industry.

John Swinney and Kate Forbes have been appointed as the new First Minister and Deputy First Minister respectively following a short leadership contest after Humza Yousaf stepped down from the roll in April.

Pete Cheema, chief executive at the Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF), congratulated Swinney on his new role in Parliament and noted his intention to work closely with the new FM on matters involving regulation.

He said: “SGF has always been a robust advocate for the convenience sector, and we need to see more from this new government.

“Ministers must deliver on their promise to improve engagement with industry and show a meaningful change in direction when good advice has been given.”

There has also been an outpouring of support for new Deputy FM Kate Forbes after her role had been announced, due to her already strong reputation within retail.

Mo Razzaq, national vice-president at the Fed and Blantyre retailer, said: “The return to government of Kate Forbes and Ivan McKee, two individuals who worked in business before they became MSPs, is particularly pleasing.

“The Scottish Government can only be strengthened by input from those with real-life experience of the many hard issues that businesses face.

“We also hope the Scottish Government will put greater emphasis on sound policy and effective delivery.”

Similarly, the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) echoed the sentiment of The Fed and noted that Forbes had delivered for businesses in the past, particularly on business rates relief during the pandemic.

David Lonsdale, director at the SRC, said: “Ms Forbes takes office at a critical juncture for the economy after four years of fallout from the pandemic and costs crunch.

“We look forward to working constructively with her and her fellow Ministers to ensure the economy is the priority of priorities and hopefully deliver a refreshed plan for economic growth.

“After all, an expanding economy is good for living standards and job prospects as well as government revenues.”