Yousaf's New Deal for Business needs time

2023-09-07 12:11:49  • 7 mins

By Douglas Fraser

Business and economy editor, Scotland

  • The First Minister's Programme for Government is intended to boost growth and fight poverty. Across the short and the long term, it brings aspiration but also contradictions.
  • It is in education and training that the long-term legacy will be created. While childcare can be a big help, problems with college finance and schools reform will also leave their mark.
  • The politics of tax cuts for business could be a smart move for the SNP in blunting attacks from Conservatives and critics inside his own party, but it risks alienating his party's left.

It doesn't take much to lose trust, but a long time to re-establish it. The ropey state of relations between the SNP government and business is under repair, and the evidence of the Programme for Government statement is that it'll take time.

It will be the focus of debate on Thursday afternoon, as MSPs consider Humza Yousaf's plans for the year and the years ahead, announced on Tuesday.

Much of what was announced and published to back the New Deal for Business was in small step-by-step measures - to support entrepreneurs, winnow out unnecessary red tape, to create units of government for small business and for investment, to try to find new ways to boost small firm productivity, to "consider" changes to business rates, and more widely to move on several fronts that opened up when that New Deal panel reported in June.

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