Wednesday, June 16, 2010

CBI Scotland- the real alternative to the SNP

It's not unusual to get sent press-releases; the tone of this one surprised me:
Source: Daily Record; Glasgow (UK))BUSINESS leaders slammed SNP government economic policies as they launched a manifesto for next year's Holyrood election.

CBI Scotland - who represent 26,000 firms - blasted Alex Salmond's failure to build new schools, his decision to axe the Glasgow airport rail link and his determination to block new nuclear plants.

Director Iain McMillan said: "All of Scotland's political parties need to listen to the private sector and we call on them to do all they can to energise Scotland's economy."

SNP MSP Stuart McMillan, a member of Holyrood's finance committee, said: "Growing our economy has been at the heart of our actions."
That last sentence is less than truthful obviously for any nationalist party but it was more that blasted" and "slammed" which shocked me, most un-CBIesque and so it proved:
BUSINESS leaders have called on politicians to adopt radical thinking to help cope with looming public spending cuts.

Bosses at CBI Scotland said the prospect of "leaner times" ahead brought with it the opportunity to take a different approach and to "challenge sacred cows".

Leading figures at the organisation, which represents the interests of 26,000 businesses in Scotland, spoke out as they published their manifesto for next year's Holyrood elections.
Etc, etc:
That called for the Scottish Government and public authorities to become "commissioners" of services by paying the private and voluntary sector to provide them.

CBI Scotland also recommended Scottish Water be taken out of the public sector, either through privatisation or mutualisation.

It said Scottish Water costs taxpayers £150 million a year, arguing that such a move would "ease the strain on public finances".

And it stressed nuclear power must "remain a fundamental part of the energy mix in Scotland".

With the SNP opposed to building new nuclear power stations, the manifesto added: "The use of devolved powers over planning to frustrate new nuclear build would be wholly wrong."

The CBI Scotland manifesto reads: "Leaner times for devolved public finances present opportunities to do things differently, to challenge sacred cows and ingrained habits, to rethink how and when money is spent and to make taxpayers' pounds work harder than ever before.

"A fundamental shift in approach is needed to encourage the use of the private and not-for-profit sectors in delivering public services, with competition as a key driver of quality and value for money.

Linda Urquhart, the chairman of CBI Scotland said: "The next Parliament will be dominated by how and whether the newly elected Scottish Government responds imaginatively to the challenge of financial austerity and the need to energise the economy.

"The time is right for some radical thinking and business has a great deal to offer in delivering reform based on our experience and know-how."

She added that their manifesto contained "clear messages and practical ideas for promoting private sector growth, reforming our public services and making Scotland an even better place to do business".
And so it goes on.
Constructive suggestions without a "slam" or "blast" in sight.
The obvious question though is why it's the Scottish CBI and not the Scottish Conservative Party which are delivering the free-market alternatives to SNP statist and subsidy economics?

1 comment:

The Aberdonian said...

GARL was cancelled because there is no money. End of. The Edinburgh (a tunnel) equivalent was cancelled when the SNP took power as the plan was held to be too expensive and an alternative form of rail-link using a spur when there was money available.

Only Labour is supportive of bringing back GARL. The Tories backed the scrapping of it in the 2009 budget.

CBI Scotland was in a nasty spat a week or so ago over the issue of fiscal devolution with the trading of personal criticism by Jim McColl towards the organisation's director Iain McMillan.

The situation concerning Scottish Water is sensitive. In the early-mid 1990's the Conservatives were intent on privatising the Scottish Water supply when the local government structure was reformed. However the Tories backed off after the Labour-controlled Strathclyde council held a postal referendum amongst its citizens on the issue. The referendum returned a over 90% no on a high turnout.

The Tories backed down and created three regional public water companies instead. One of the first things that happened with devolution was the merger of the three companies into one state company.

The Tories in Scotland know the potency of the issue - the idea of escalating bills to satisfy dividend holders etc. At best the Tories back mutualisation. Labour and the SNP support the status quo and the Lib Dems flirt with mutualisation.