Scottish transport minister underlines importance of engaging with private sector

Private businesses can lead the government in innovation and should be supported in providing training and apprenticeships, Humza Yousaf said

Humza Yousaf speaks at the UK Chamber summer lunch 2017

The government needs to continue engaging "robustly" with the private sector in order to develop and maintain business innovation and a skilled workforce – especially in the current economic climate, Humza Yousaf, MSP for Transport and the Scottish Islands, has said.

Mr Yousaf addressed the UK Chamber of Shipping’s annual Summer Lunch in Edinburgh on Wednesday, during which he implored Scottish maritime industry to approach him if they had worries that legislative issues might negatively impact their business.

“I have always prided our government on a few things. One of the greatest features of our government is our openness and accessibility and that’s important with the public sector and trade unions, but it’s also as important with the private sector,” the minister said.

“I would hope that, whether it’s John Sweeney, who was the cabinet secretary for finance previously or whether it’s Derek Mackay now, who’s the government secretary, or whether it’s any other government minister, that we will continue to engage very robustly with the private sector,” he continued.

“If anybody has their doubts about that, I would hope that they come to me directly and I’d be more than happy to meet with you and discuss with you because the private sector often have been leaders in innovation. They’ve often taken that risk and invested their own profits and have created jobs and boosted the economy, and far too often we have passed nonsensical policies, legislation and regulation,” he went on.

Mr Yousaf also used his speech to praise the "huge potential" of the cruise sector in Scotland, especially for the nation's workforce. Cruise calls to the country grew by 39% between 2015 and 2016, with even higher growth forecast in 2017.

“Since the goddawful crash in 2008, training and apprenticeship opportunities are so so important to the next generation and I think the cruise industry has a big part to play in that,” the minister said, adding that his government would do whatever it could to assist maritime businesses in maximising these opportunities.  

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