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Scottish Enterprise delayed launch of strategy as Humza Yousaf was ‘too busy’



A Scottish business quango was forced to postpone launching its new “Economic Transformation” strategy for two months as former First Minister Humza Yousaf was too busy to attend. Scottish Enterprise invited the ex-SNP leader to take part in an event to mark the occasion in November last year.

They contacted his office in August 2023 to ask him to help them launch the new strategy in the likes of Aberdeen to show the boost it could give to the energy sector there. However, due to diary pressures he was unable to commit to this, with the event instead taking pace in January this year.

The background planning and snub came despite the former First Minister promising a “business reset” after they became disillusioned with Nicola Sturgeon’s leadership and her anti-business policies, such as the alcohol advertising ban and the deposit return scheme.

But Mr Yousaf’s tenure brought more of the same for exhausted businesses as John Swinney brutal cuts to its budget.when he took over last month. The former First Minister’s visit to Scottish Enterprise also came with the backdrop of brutal cuts to its budget.

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While there on January 15, he hailed the agency’s new mission while touring the Verlume battery factory in Aberdeen. Scottish Enterprise was hit with a £40m cut in the SNP’s December Budget to help tackle a £1.5billion financial black hole caused by public sector pay deals and welfare spending

It means that Mr Yousaf refused to help launch the new strategy in the months leading up to that bombshell news. In correspondence received by the Scottish Daily Express through freedom of information legislation, Adrian Gillespie, Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise, invited him “to launch Scottish Enterprise’s new Corporate Plan, which supports the delivery of the economic ambitions set out in the Scottish Government’s NSET; Equality Opportunity and Community Prospectus; and the Innovation Strategy for Scotland.

Former First Minister of Scotland Humza Yousaf (Image: PA)

“By focusing on fewer things where we can make the greatest impact in achieving a wellbeing economy, through creating more quality jobs, higher wages, higher productivity levels whilst also protecting the environment.”

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