Just 9% of Firms Believe Scottish Government Understands Business, Poll Reveals

In a recent poll, a mere 9% of surveyed companies indicated that the Scottish Government possesses a comprehensive understanding of the country’s business landscape. The study, conducted by the Fraser of Allander Institute, aimed to gauge the level of confidence the business sector holds in the policymakers.

Policies and Perception:
Since assuming office earlier this year, First Minister Humza Yousaf has been actively pursuing a more business-friendly approach, even proposing a “new deal for business.” However, the survey results underscore a stark contrast in perception between the government and the business community. Only 9% of respondents concurred or strongly concurred that the Scottish Government comprehends the intricacies of Scotland’s business environment. In contrast, a substantial 64% expressed disagreement or strong disagreement with this notion.

Engagement and Effectiveness:
The survey also assessed the effectiveness of the government’s engagement with the business community. A meager 8% of participants agreed that ministers and officials successfully foster meaningful engagement, while a significant 67% disagreed. Interestingly, a staggering 80% of respondents within the hospitality sector voiced disagreement with both statements.

Size Matters:
The survey findings also revealed an interesting trend related to the size of companies. Larger enterprises were more inclined to disagree with the statements regarding government-business understanding and effective engagement.

Expert Insights:
Mairi Spowage, the Director of the Fraser of Allander Institute, acknowledged the government’s evident disappointment in these results. She stressed the necessity for the Scottish Government to reestablish its rapport with the business sector. The recently proposed “new deal for business” is seen as a crucial avenue for effecting meaningful change.

David Anderson, Head of Corporate at Addleshaw Goddard in Scotland, emphasized the pivotal role of collaboration between business and government. He viewed these findings as a prompt for both parties to enhance their engagement for the sake of a thriving economy.

Government’s Response:
Responding to the survey, Neil Gray, the Wellbeing Economy Secretary, acknowledged the need for enhanced collaboration between the government and the business community. He cited the establishment of the “New Deal for business” group as a step in the right direction. Gray conveyed the government’s commitment to co-designing policies that will positively impact businesses’ daily operations.

Political Standpoint:
The study’s implications were not lost on Murdo Fraser, the Scottish Tory economy spokesman, who labeled the findings an “abysmal verdict” for the Scottish Government. He criticized the government’s reluctance to alleviate financial burdens on businesses and stressed the importance of prioritizing economic growth.

In light of the survey’s outcomes, it is evident that there exists a palpable gap between the Scottish Government’s understanding of the business landscape and the business community’s expectations. The government’s ongoing efforts to foster a collaborative environment through the “new deal for business” initiative will be closely watched as stakeholders anticipate positive shifts in their relationship.

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