Kate Forbes says she wants to remove red tape to boost the economy

John Swinney with Kate Forbes as they arrive for his debut at First Minister's Questions at HolyroodJohn Swinney with Kate Forbes as they arrive for his debut at First Minister's Questions at Holyrood
John Swinney with Kate Forbes as they arrive for his debut at First Minister's Questions at Holyrood

New Deputy First Minister Kate Forbes is promising to remove red tape to get the economy “firing on all cylinders”.

Ms Forbes was officially made John Swinney’s deputy and economy secretary last week, after she agreed not to run against him to become SNP leader in exchange for a “significant role” in his cabinet.

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She now says she has returned to the frontbenches to “get stuff done”, and wants to make sure Scotland is the “obvious and only location” for global investment.

Writing in The Sunday Times, Ms Forbes said: “My message is simple: Scotland is open for business.

“My plan is to prove that, to reduce the hurdles to investment, to market the opportunities and to promise jobs and wages, not bureaucracy.”

In her piece she says there are three ways to move the economy forward- decarbonisation, innovation and boosting exports.

She said: “Our most prized food exports - salmon and whisky - continue to be highly in demand across the world.

“There has been a 200 per cent increase in food exports over the last 10 years, and the industry is worth £15 billion.

“These are huge figures, and they will keep growing, despite rocky trading conditions entirely due to the Tories’ decision to leave not just the EU but the huge single market and customs union.”

Ms Forbes, who was previously finance secretary under Nicola Sturgeon, added that focusing on these export markets will also help tackle depopulation in coastal and rural areas, which she says is an “extremely pressing” issue.

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The new economy secretary represents Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch at the Scottish Parliament, and says growing the working age population in these areas will help boost the economy as well and make sure public services grow alongside this.

She added: “The plan is simple - get the economy firing on all cylinders, and it will power a better future.

“The potential is enormous.”

Her piece in The Sunday Times also makes the economic case for both Scottish independence and re-joining the EU.

She said: “The stagnation of the UK economy has been accompanied by a lively debate, particularly south of the border, on the causes and potential solutions to what at times can seem hard-wired economic decline.

“The last few years of inflation, rising costs and poor living standards have been challenging, but the UK economy has been characterised by low growth, low productivity, low levels of investment and high levels of inequality for much longer.

“Many of the macro economic levers lie with the UK Government, but I have never allowed that to constrain our ambition to do better in Scotland.”



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