Missing meetings

Economic leadership group has never met, MSPs told

Richard Leonard
Richard Leonard: puzzled why group has not met

A committee of Cabinet ministers which was supposed to provide guidance for growing the economy has never met, MSPs have been told.

The economic leadership group was due to be chaired by the First Minister and attended by the president of the local government organisation Cosla.

It was a key plank of the National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET), the 10-year plan launched in March 2022 by Kate Forbes when she served as Finance and Economy Secretary.

Addressing Holyrood’s Public Audit Committee today, Gregor Irwin, the Scottish Government’s director-general for the economy, admitted: “It is absolutely true the economic leadership group has not met as originally planned.”

He blamed difficulties in synchronising ministerial schedules, even though it was only intended to meet twice a year.

Committee convener Richard Leonard asked: “You weren’t able to co-ordinate the diaries of half a dozen, at the most, Cabinet secretaries and the president of Cosla to fix up a meeting of the economic leadership group? I’m struggling to understand why it hasn’t met.

“So there’s a possibility there will be no leadership group in the future?”

Mr Irwin responded: “We need to put that advice to our ministers and address that with them at the appropriate time.”

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