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Sturgeon apologises for not listening to business


Nicola Sturgeon: “I’m sorry for not communicating’

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has apologised to the business community which has accused her of not communicating effectively during the pandemic.

Many firms and trade groups have been angered by late decisions to close or restrict their operations without sufficient notice to allow them to prepare.

In some cases businesses have been forced to throw away produce which has been bought and could not be sold.

There has also been concern over payments being delayed, and the restrictions being inconsistent and confusing.

Addressing today’s virtual National Economic Forum, Ms Sturgeon accepted that the government had come up short.

The Government had to develop support schemes as quickly as possible and often had to make changes to rules and regulations “at very short notice”, she said.

“Very often that has involved striking a very difficult, at times what has felt like, an impossible balance.

“Although we have genuinely tried incredibly hard to communicate with the business community, I know the nature of what we have been dealing has meant that at times you have felt that communication has not met your needs and I am genuinely sorry about that, and I want to reassure you that we will continue to strive to do better.”

She added that the needs of the business community would be “at the heart of our decisions.” She pledged more support for businesses during the enforced restrictions.

She said the NEF, attended by Cabinet ministers John Swinney, Kate Forbes, Angus Robertson, Shirley-Anne Somerville and Michael Matheson, was designed to allow feedback from the business community.

Shortly after speaking, Ms Sturgeon said she would have to leave the Forum to attend to other matters.

Ms Forbes, Finance and Economy Secretary, said she was leading the 10-year transformation of the economy and wanted to “understand the potential and harness the collective talent” in the Scottish economy.

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