Ivan McKee offers insights into the relationship between government and business

The MSP appears to be a rare example of a high profile politician with direct experience of the business world, having held senior positions in manufacturing before joining Holyrood.

This background stood him in good stead during his tenure as Minister for Economy, Trade, Tourism and Enterprises between 2021 and 2023 and indeed there was resentment in the business community when it emerged he would not be retaining his post in the first Cabinet put together by the new First Minister Humza Yusaf.

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So when Mr McKee gives his perspective on whether the Scottish Government really cares about the economy, it is worth paying attention.

In today’s Herald article, Mr McKee underscores the importance of the economy to Scotland’s ability to fight poverty, provide reliable public services and grow its economy. He rightly notes that the Scottish business scene is very diverse and highlights the diversity of opinion in key areas which can complicate the implementation of national policies.

But he does make some observations that could perhaps be interpreted as suggesting that the Scottish Government could make improvements in certain areas.

While saying the ministers are providing good access, he stressed the importance of engaging in a “meaningful” way that genuinely convinces companies they understand the challenges they face.

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And in what could be described as a commentary on his successors in Cabinet (the financial and economic reports are now shared by Shona Robison and Neil Gray, neither of whom has a significant business background), Mr McKee discusses the importance of “lived experience”.

He also believes that while many new regulations are created with good intentions, they are often communicated to businesses in a language they do not understand. In some cases, he adds, there are proposals that “do not correspond to reality”.

Mr McKee notes that despite hard work on the part of the government, there is a perception that it needs to “reframe” its relationship with business, which Mr Yousaf “understands”, and acknowledges that “a narrative, once it takes root has, can be hard to shake.” off”.

But maybe that impression could start to change, given a few observations made by Mr. McKee.

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