• Saturday, May 18, 2024


Anas Sarwar unveils expert panel to advise Scottish Labour on economy

By: Pramod Thomas

SCOTTISH Labour leader, Anas Sarwar, has unveiled an expert independent board to advise the party on economic growth.

The panel consists of high-profile business leaders, including a media executive who appeared on The Apprentice, as reported by The Times.

Sarwar said that the panel will focus on green energy, finance, and technology, as well as promoting ‘Scotland the brand’. Liz Cameron, the director and chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, Sandy Begbie, the chief executive of Scottish Financial Enterprise, and Fran Hegyi, the executive director of the Edinburgh International Festival, are all part of the group.

The other members are former media executive Mike Soutar, who appeared on The Apprentice, Bob Brannan, the chairman of Walkers Shortbread, Mary McGowne, the founder and managing director of The Vine, Willie Haughey, the chairman of City Facilities Management Holdings, and Karen Whitefield, of the trade union Usdaw.

Paul McManus, a board member and the principal stakeholder at Cloburn Quarry Company, who also serves as the drummer in Gun, the Scottish rock group, will also join the board. He contributed £130,000 to the party last year.

Sarwar stated that Labour openly supports businesses and economic expansion and is committed to creating an economic growth strategy.

He intends to collaborate with the industry to assess this plan during their time in opposition, and once in government, work alongside the UK government to implement it right from the start.

According to Labour strategists, Liz Truss’s budget damaged the Tories’ reputation, and trust was eroded in the SNP under Nicola Sturgeon’s leadership.

Sarwar holds the belief that boosting the gross domestic product (GDP) plays a crucial role in generating the necessary funds to support social policies, thereby reducing the necessity for tax hikes.

The board of advisers has been given the task of providing impartial advice to Sarwar and Daniel Johnson, the economy spokesman, which will inform Labour’s economic policies.

It will involve tailoring plans to different parts of the country rather than utilizing a blanket approach that covers urban and rural areas.

“Nearly a quarter of a century on since devolution, our Scottish parliament has overseen sweeping social change, but we have been very much a social policy parliament rather than an economic policy parliament,” Sarwar was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

“And that has let down Scottish employers, weakening our growth potential. With the vast powers that Holyrood has and during a cost of living crisis — and let’s not forget, a cost of doing business crisis — we must debate how to deliver economic growth. That’s what Scottish businesses deserve.”

Ministers have relaunched the Ecosystem Fund to help inspire more entrepreneurs to start or scale up their businesses. Grants of up to £50,000 will be available under the scheme.

Douglas Ross, the Scottish Tory leader, has also unveiled proposals to encourage people to work longer hours and encourage those with long-term illnesses back into employment.


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