Business: New Deal for Business Group minutes - August 2023

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 30 August 2023.

Attendees and apologies

  • Dr Poonam Malik, Head of Investment - Strathclyde University (Co Chair) 
  • Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)
  • Institute of Directors (IoD)
  • Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI)
  • Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC)
  • Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA)
  • Scottish Financial Enterprise (SFE)
  • Fraser of Allander Institute (FoA)
  • Muckle Media
  • Business in The Community Scotland (BiTCS)
  • Chair of NSET Delivery Board


  • Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)
  • Scotland Food and Drink (SFD)
  • Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC)

Items and actions

Items and actions 

Implementation Plan: feedback from the group 

Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC): good, helpful document which captures everything covered. Minor points include: the document talks about refreshed policy guidance.  Keen to understand if that covers submissions on consultations, etc, from all areas to Cabinet and Ministers. Noted reference to sectoral Just Transition plans by mid-2024, Retail Industry Leadership Group’s (ILG) plan by Spring 2024 but noted this may be challenging for some sectors.

NSET Chair: noted need for consistency throughout the document in terms of style (Subgroup 4 has bullet points in first paragraph and others don’t; charts need to be the same format) and some sections are longer than others suggesting they are more important.  On content, the Non Domestic Rates section products seems to be lacking and less than others. 

Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI): noted that in the Wellbeing Economy section, the text covers off ‘reactive’ aspects in terms of Scottish Government (SG) bringing forward policy and the subgroup were keen to demonstrate the role of industry and business as a catalyst to bringing policy ideas to SG.  Keen to understand the deadline for further detailed feedback.

Muckle Media: noted the high level of ambition for the relationship between business and SG and the need for a bolder beginning. Keen to bring the document to life and make it more accessible to more businesses.  Offered to help with that design. Suggested Wellbeing Economy subgroup should reconsider recommendations 65-69, currently noted as long-term, and whether they could be reframed as short, medium or long-term.

Scottish Financial Enterprise (SFE): document is accurate but language lacks ambition and sense of pace.  Left wondering about the impact on supporting business to grow, working relationship with government, and improvements to productivity.  Indicated that is for Business Leaders to bring to the table.

Business in the Community Scotland (BiTCS): suggested considering from the perspective of who the plan is for and to reframe the document through the lens of that strategic objective i.e. what does the Group want to achieve.  

Dr Poonam Malik/ Scottish Government: suggested New Deal for Business is about improving the relationship between business and government that will  in turn drive the economic growth that feeds into strong and sustainable finances to tackle poverty and support our public services and communities.

Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA): document needs to show some relationship to sectoral strategies and the ‘what’s in it for me’ for business, particularly small businesses.  Needs to show how the work will make a difference to business.

Federation of Small Businesses (FSB): need to maximise accessibility by tightening prose and offering a slightly deeper level of detail e.g. the ‘how’ so business can see what will be different and make it more real for them thus enabling business leaders to generate some more excitement around the plan and process.

Summary of discussion

Overall document is right in its process.  Needs bolder ambition with slightly more tangible benefits from the actions contained within it.  Group asked to bring forward 3 things to improve the document that focus on delivery of: economic activity, productivity and relationship; and suggestions for reframing the plan to demonstrate who and what it is for.

Back to top