Lord Livingston toasts whisky industry in Glasgow

UK Government Trade Minister, Lord Livingston, meets Diageo apprentices during a tour of Diageo Shieldhall. Picture: Mike Wilkinson
UK Government Trade Minister, Lord Livingston, meets Diageo apprentices during a tour of Diageo Shieldhall. Picture: Mike Wilkinson
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TRADE and investment minister Lord Livingston visited his native Glasgow yesterday to meet budding entrepreneurs and pay tribute to the Scotch whisky industry’s contribution to the UK economy.

The former BT chief executive toured Diageo’s plant in Shieldhall, which employs 525 full-time staff and packages almost 30 per cent of Scotland’s national drink.

“Scotch whisky exports are of great importance to our economy,” said the Conservative peer, who took up his ministerial role in 2013 after stepping down as the boss of BT.

According to the Scotch Whisky Association, the industry is worth about £5 billion a year to the UK and supports more than 40,000 jobs.

Livingston also paid a visit to the Entrepreneurial Spark (ESpark) “hatchery” in Glasgow, which has helped start-ups such as Mo’s Cookie Dough and biotech firm Taragenyx get their companies up and running.

He said: “It is fantastic to see that Entrepreneurial Spark exists to offer practical assistance and the benefit of expertise gained in the very highest echelons of business.”

ESpark also has sites in Ayrshire and Edinburgh, and is expanding into England next week.

Chief executive Jim Duffy said: “Given Lord Livingston’s impeccable business credentials, it is heartening to hear his positive views ahead of our launch in Birmingham.”