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SPF annual conference

‘We need each other’ Forbes tells property gathering

Kate Forbes: shared objectives (pic: Terry Murden)

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes told a gathering of property professionals that they and the government ‘needed each other’.

Addressing the Scottish Property Federation annual conference she said they had to work together as they had shared objectives, particularly in finding the homes the country needed.

The recent planning act was part of the process and she welcomed the industry’s input in seeing it come into effect.

Ms Forbes, making one of her first public appearances since taking on the job last month, also spoke about the government’s desire to promote wellbeing and sustainability as key components of economic growth.

“There is a view that if you want to grow you do it at the expense of quality of life or the environment. That is not true.”

John Reid, chief executive of Michelin Scotland Renovation Parc, explained how leading the regeneration of the former tyre plant in Dundee was dependent on getting the workforce behind him.

Getting the trust of the trade union, which accounted for 99% of the workers, was vital.

Michelin had never done such a thing before. “I think our workforce’s response inspired them to deliver something different,” he said.

Asked to cast off his modesty and explain how much he had been responsible for the plans now in place, Mr Reid, said he had turned down a job in France to take on the role.

John Reid: they trusted me (pic: Terry Murden)

He had worked at the plant for 48 years – ten as plant manager.

“These were my guys and my factory and so the immediate benefit was that they knew me and trusted me,” he said. “I asked them to hold the line. Could anyone else have done that?”

On the theme of sustainability, Keith Anderson, CEO of ScottishPower, said: “We have the technology to make the changes required towards climate change targets, we just need the desire.”

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