SIR Tom Hunter has called on more support for entrepreneurs to get growth back into the economy.

He said: "To get growth back in the economy we need to back entrepreneurs – they are the ones who create jobs.”

Sir Tom applauded the Scottish Government for its support of his Scottish EDGE funding competition but warned that more needs to be done to upgrade skills. “We have a changing economy, and we need changing skills,” he said, pointing to Lord Haughey’s commitment to apprenticeships in Scotland.

Scotland’s infrastructure, he added, also required improvement to make it more efficient for businesses, describing rail travel as “a shambles” and calling for money to be spent wisely to get the country moving again.

Commenting on the UK’s financial state, Sir Tom said: “I thought Britain was a solid, financial institution but sometimes it is not the strong powerhouse we all think it is.”

Meanwhile, Lord Willie Haughey said that for the last two decades, the system has been “awash with money”, making it easy for people to borrow, adding: “We have gone from oversupply of cash in the market for people to thrive to none, with mortgages being stopped.

“So, in business terms that is a huge worry.”

Both Sir Tom and Lord Haughey predicted that Liz Truss will not fight the next General Election.

Discussing the events of recent days and the U-turn on abolishing the 45p tax rate just 10 days after it was announced by Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, they agreed that the Prime Minister would not stand. “Behind the scenes all the big beasts – Gove, Grant Shapps – will be on manoeuvres," said Lord Haughey.

“I don’t think Liz Truss will go into the next election as leader of the Tory party.”