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Window dressing attack

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

Jack Perry 1

Jack Perry: ‘staggering that agency heads not invited’ (pic: Terry Murden)

A former chief executive of Scotland’s biggest development agency has claimed the Scottish government’s new Advisory Council is “window dressing” and its proposals will be ignored.

Jack Perry, who was head of Scottish Enterprise and chairman of CBI Scotland, also said it is “staggering” that neither the chairmen nor CEOs of both Scottish Enterprise or Highlands and Islands Enterprise have been invited to join the new group.

The government today announced it had axed its Council of Economic Advisers and replaced it with the new Advisory Council whose members include entrepreneurs, academics and a senior retailer.

But Mr Perry questioned why the heads of the two big development agencies have not been invited to join, given that they will be tasked with implementing any policies that emerge from its recommendations.

In a letter responding to a Daily Business report on the new council, Mr Perry claims the SNP government will, in any event, “ignore what the Council proposes” because “they never paid any attention to the old Council”.

He adds: “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 administration and came up with no original bold plans of their own.”

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Mr Perry, who was CEO of Scottish Enterprise for six years until the end of 2009, says the advisory council is “simply more window dressing from an administration that has no idea of its own and which believes that talking about a problem and making promises gives the appearance of action.”

One member of the now-defunct Council of Economic Advisers, Ferguson Marine boss Jim McColl, became a thorn in the side of the government over the ferry contract debacle.

Some members of the CEA will continue to advise the government, the government said in a statement without naming them.

The new council includes a former Treasury mandarin who questioned the SNP’s currency plans during the 2014 referendum campaign, and the chairman of John Lewis Partnership, Dame Sharon White.

New advisory body to replace axed Council of Economic Advisers

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