Tycoon blasts lack of expertise

Sturgeon brushes aside McColl attack on ministers

Jim McColl

Jim McColl: ‘ministers lack business experience’

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today sidestepped criticism by businessman Jim McColl who said government ministers lacked business experience.

Mr McColl, the multi-millionaire tycoon behind Clyde Blowers who clashed with the government during his ownership of the Ferguson shipyard, said there were too many career politicians in Holyrood.

He also warned that it could take 10 years for Scotland to recover and that it risked losing half its small and medium sized firms due to the pandemic unless there was more help from government. Mr McColl said businesses needed long term loans, possibly over 25 years, rather than short-term grants.

Ms Sturgeon said she had not seen his comments, made during a radio interview, but insisted there was a “range of expertise” in the government and that she was looking to deepen its engagement with business.

Dean Lockhart, Scottish Conservative shadow business secretary, said: “Jim McColl is not alone. The SNP government’s own Advisory Group on Economic Recovery led by Benny Higgins also concluded that after 14 years in government the SNP does not properly engage with stakeholders in the economy.

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