Ben Thomson: Opportunities and problems but not in equal measure

1. How confident are you about the year ahead?

I am confident that it will be busy with lots of opportunities and probably a few problems.

2. Do you think the economy is out of the woods?

No. Over the next four years, the public sector in Scotland will have to be reduced in size by about 8-10 per cent of GDP if we are to stop the rot of escalating public sector debt.

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It is going to be hard in the time period to see this fall in GDP replaced by the private sector so there will be hit to the economy. Watch out for more quantitative easing and eventually higher inflation.

3. What challenges will 2011 hold for your business?

Each of the businesses I am involved with will have different challenges and those at the National Galleries of Scotland will be very different from Reform Scotland. However, particularly in difficult times, there are two consistent themes. First is making sure the organisation has a clear strategy for the times ahead and second to encourage those on the front line - it's a hard enough job without negative comments.

4. What would help you overcome those challenges?

Keep positive and think forward.

5. Was 2010 better or worse than you expected?

Some things were better others worse but overall they balanced out.

6. If you could introduce or change one government policy to help your business, what would it be?

I am chairman of Barrington Stoke, which is the leading publishing company of books for dyslexics and the largest Scottish children's book publisher. The majority of our books are sold to schools. The Scottish Government's new policy on centralized buying will mean that the schools will be forced to buy through central distributors. This will cost us over 50 per cent of the cover price of the book and will give the schools no better discount than they could have got directly from us. I would like to see the government drop this policy.

If they want to ensure schools get better buying power then they could ensure that publishers agree to provide proper discounts when selling directly to schools.

7. Where would you like your business to be by the end of 2011?

I am involved in getting two new businesses off the ground so I suppose I would like both to be flying by the end of 2011.

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8. What's the one item or gadget you're going to buy in 2011?

New pair of ski touring boots.

9. What's your new year's resolution?

I never make any but my wife usually makes lots for me.

10. Will Andy Murray win Wimbledon?

Yes because he's a great player and I'm an optimist.

• Ben Thomson is chairman of five organisations including the National Galleries of Scotland, Reform Scotland and Barrington Stoke.