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Sturgeon replaces economic advisers with new team

New faces: Lynne Cadenhead, Graeme Roy, Sharon White

Nicola Sturgeon has abolished her Council of Economic Advisers and appointed a replacement team that includes a former Treasury mandarin who challenged the SNP’s currency plans.

The government has suffered a chequered recent history with the former council, notably its strained relationship with Clyde Blowers tycoon Jim McColl over the collapse of his Ferguson Marine shipyard.

Some members of the now defunct group continue to advise the government, but the new Advisory Council represents an attempt to freshen up policy.

One surprising appointment is that of Sir Nick MacPherson, a former Permanent Secretary to the Treasury. In the run up to the referendum campaign in 2014 he advised Chancellor George Osborne against the SNP’s plan for a currency union should Scotland vote to leave the UK.

The appointment to the new council of Dame Sharon White, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, reflects a need to tackle the crisis on the high street.

She is joined by former Skyscanner executive Mark Logan who produced a key paper last summer on the digital economy.

Lynne Cadenhead, chairman of Women’s Enterprise Scotland, and the academics Prof Anton Muscatelli and Prof Graeme Roy also join the 17-member council which will be chaired by Economy Secretary Kate Forbes.

Kate Forbes

Kate Forbes: ambitious strategy (pic: Terry Murden)

It is working on a 10-year National Strategy that will “prioritise investment in the industries of the future and deliver new, good and green jobs.”

It will be published in late autumn and a smaller group of members will be asked to oversee its implementation.

Ms Forbes said: As we emerge from the pandemic, we must work together to seize Scotland’s potential and build an economy for everyone by delivering greater, greener and fairer prosperity.

“The pandemic has led to fundamental shifts in sectors such as retail, and changed the way many businesses operate with more online trading and remote working.

“We need to build on these innovations and guide our economy to the industries and opportunities of the future.

“Our 10 year National Strategy for Economic Transformation will utilise the expertise of business, trade unions and economists to deliver a focused plan of actions and projects to help transform our economy and help us reach net zero.


“I want to thank the members of the council for agreeing to play such a crucial role in the development of our bold and ambitions 10 year economic strategy.

“Starting work to deliver this key strategy was a 100 day commitment of this Scottish Government and I am delighted we have been able to secure the support of so many leading experts.

“To ensure this strategy delivers the transformational change Scotland needs, this must be a national endeavour and so we want to hear directly from works from business, workers, stakeholders from across the country.

“This is a an invitation to the entrepreneurs, thinkers and job creators to join our national endeavour and work with us to make Scotland thrive.”

The members of the Advisory Council are:

Maggie McGinlayCEO of Energy Transition Zone
Lynne CadenheadChair of Women’s Enterprise Scotland
Chris van der KuylFounder, owner and chairman of 4J Studios
Sean McGrathCEO of Entrepreneurial Scotland
Dame Sharon WhiteChair of John Lewis Partnership
Mark LoganFormer executive at Skyscanner
Nick MacPhersonFormer Permanent Secretary to the Treasury.
Sir Anton MuscatelliPrincipal of the University of Glasgow
Jamie GrantManaging Director and Head of Corporate Banking Scotland
Roz FoyerGeneral Secretary of the Scottish Trades Unions Congress (STUC)
Professor Graeme RoyDean of External Engagement at University of Glasgow
Jackie BriertonCEO of GrowBiz
Cllr John AlexanderChair of Scottish Cities Alliance and Leader of Dundee Council.
Mark BlythDirector of the William R. Rhodes Centre for International Economics and Finance at Brown University.
Mariana MazzucatoProfessor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value, University College London, and founder of the UCL Institute for Innovation & Public Purpose.
Emma PartonFounder of Highland Soap company

Members of the public and stakeholders are invited to share their views, suggestions and opinions on the development of the National Strategy For Economic Transformation over the next eight weeks.

Responses should be emailed to by 27 August.

See also:

Sturgeon’s new advisers ‘will be ignored’ says Perry

Scots Tory director McInnes to advise Johnson

One Comment to Sturgeon replaces economic advisers with new team

  1. Isn’t it staggering that neither the chairmen or CEOs of both Scottish Enterprise or HIE have been invited to sit on this new Council? Particularly as they just appointed a new CEO at SE at have the pricipal author of the Smith report as chairman of SE. The economic development agencies are the only significant bodies which might be able to help deliver whatever proposals are raised by the new Council – yet they have no voice in their development. In any event the SNP administration will ignore what the Council proposes – they never paid any attention to the old Council – indeed few of the Council members ever turned up to meetings regularly and the First minister rarely attended. If you read the minutes of the old CEA meetings the Council rarely challenged the SNP adminstration and came up with no original bold plans of their own. This is simply more window dressing from an adminstarion that has no ideas of its own and which believes that talking about a problem and making promises gives the appearance of action. Box ticked!

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