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Agenda: Scots focus for Graham

Graham Construction is understandably nonplussed at being named in the context of Northern Irish firms responsible for potential "leakage" from "shovel-ready" public projects.

As they rightly point out, the charge could equally be made against Balfour Beatty, Kier, BAM, Morgan Sindall and others with HQs elsewhere in the UK.

According to its spokesman, the company has delivered £1 billion of work in the last 10 years, turning over £150 million in Scotland in 2012 (out of a total £216m), and the firm employs around 400 people directly, almost twice as many as it does in Northern Ireland. It took on 28 apprentices in Scotland last year alone, as well as 69 new members of staff.

The company also sponsors students through their construction courses at Scottish colleges, and exclusively uses Scottish subcontractors on Scottish projects where it can. It also makes pro-bono contributions in the form of traineeship opportunities and so on to socially-useful construction projects.

Gary Holmes, regional director, says: "Our roots in Scotland run deep. Our firm's policy is to recruit Scottish people to work on Scottish projects. We also work hard to ensure local people and local communities benefit directly from our activities."

Agenda couldn't help picking up feedback about John Swinney's encounter with a hostile, incredulous House of Lords economic committee at the Institute of Directors' excellent West of Scotland Christmas reception in Glasgow's Blythswood Hotel on Thursday.

Some of those proffering opinions deal with the Cabinet Secretary for Finance regularly, and all rate him highly as a politician. The overwhelming view was that colleagues should never have put him in the position of making flaky assertions about EU membership even if it he was right to say that José Manuel Barroso was overstepping the mark about membership terms. And anyway, given the urgent needs of the Scottish economy, "he shouldn't be wasting time arguing the toss in the House of Lords".

Graham Construction is understandably nonplussed at being named in the context of Northern Irish firms responsible for potential "leakage" from "shovel ready" public projects. As they rightly point out, the charge could equally be made against Balfour Beatty, Kier, BAM, Morgan Sindall and others with HQs elsewhere in the UK.

According to their spokesman, the company has delivered £1 billion of work in the last 10 years, turning over £150 million in Scotland in 2012 (out of a total £216m), and the firm employs around 400 people directly, almost twice as many as it does in Northern Ireland. It took on 28 apprentices in Scotland last year alone, as well as 69 new members of staff.

The company also sponsors students through their construction courses at Scottish colleges, and exclusively uses Scottish sub-contractors on Scottish projects where it can. It also makes pro-bono contributions in the form of traineeship opportunities and so on to socially-useful construction projects.

Gary Holmes, regional director says: "Our roots in Scotland run deep. Our firm policy is to recruit Scottish people to work on Scottish projects. We also work hard to ensure local people and local communities benefit directly from our activities."

Lording it

Agenda couldn't help picking up feedback about John Swinney's encounter with a hostile, incredulous House of Lords economic committee at the Institute of Directors' excellent West of Scotland Christmas reception in Glasgow's Blythswood on Thursday.

Some of those proffering opinions deal with the cabinet secretary finance regularly, and all rate him highly as a politician. The overwhelming view was that colleagues should never have put him in the position of making flaky assertions about EU membership even if it he was right to say that José Manuel Barroso was overstepping the mark about membership terms. And anyway, given the urgent needs of the Scottish economy "he shouldn't be wasting time arguing the toss in the House of Lords".

Contextual targeting label: 
Finance

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