There was a time when all of Scotland came together, the impact was startling – we invented the modern world. 

Today, in the face of the horrendous Covid-19, I think we can do it again if we honestly, truly trust one another and respect all the skill sets needed to do so. 

We can deliver a new enlightenment, together. 

Today we face a continued balancing act, one that costs lives whichever way the scales weigh in on. 

On Thursday we heard calls for an extra £500 million this year for Scotland from the Treasury and Benny Higgins’s request for an extra £6 billion. I am no economist but I think we are underestimating precisely how much our economy will need going forward, not least this year.

READ MORE: Sir Tom Hunter urges Nicola Sturgeon to let business lead Covid recovery

There is much we can get on with before the inevitable tussle with HM Treasury but, to be sure, I agree we need a tactical, by sector, extension to furlough and action over VAT.
However, there is much we can do in Scotland to be getting on with and kick-starting our economy NOW.

The Higgins Report sets out all manner of recommendations and no implementation plan. 

It misses the vital role of small to medium-sized businesses in job creation – more or less all of it will come from them in the next five years; they garner one mention in the report.

Earlier last week our foundation made our views clear outlining a report we sent to Government on May 4 (in the interests of transparency you can read them in full at

That report was the work of hundreds of entrepreneurs, representing hundreds of thousands of jobs and was sent both to the Government and Lord Smith, chairman of Scottish Enterprise. 

We issued it because of a frustration at lack of engagement on action therein, frustration felt by many in business and echoed by Mr Higgins and acknowledged by the First Minister. 

What it didn’t say is this: it’s now time for all of us in the private and public sectors to take a long hard look at ourselves and say ‘What am I good at? Whose better than me at it?’ and let’s agree on that and get on with backing the best in class. 

That’s how you build successful businesses and, I believe, successful countries.

If there was ever a time for the Scottish Government to acknowledge their lack of business experience in the civil service, their agencies and in Cabinet it is now, not as an admission of guilt but a recognition of what you do best and we do best. 

And, to be clear, so the same is true of us in business; many of us, me included, don’t understand how government works and that’s a recognition of what you do best. 

We need to come together respecting each other skill sets, harness them and accelerate them.

And, to be clear, I do not underestimate the challenges our Government has undertaken during this crisis and the pressures it is under. And I thank ministers for their actions.

READ MORE: Sir Tom Hunter inspires young entrepreneur to reach for the stars with Orbit programme

But now is the time to be bold and apply the same science, evidence and urgent implementation as we have to Covid-19 to our economic recovery; we cannot wait for Westminster on the macro, we need to get on with all boots on the ground working as one.

In our foundation we are all about solutions; Mr Higgins noted some in the private sector are all about carping, so let’s leave them on the side and get on with pro-actively delivering for Scotland and all its people.

My solution is this: Fiona Hyslop has indicated she will respond to the Higgins Report towards the end of July.

So First Minister and Fiona, let the customer, let business come together and write your answer guided by a lead civil servant who understands business and your budgets; but with no sacred cows.

Do not have the civil service or your agencies write an implementation plan for a customer they don’t really understand; let us in business take this on, trust business to do it and work with you on this.

I know we can engage the best brains from around the world on this and the best in Scotland – the job creators, entrepreneurs from all sectors of our economy. Scotland’s businesses, large and small stand ready and willing to work with you and for Scotland. 

All you just need to do is ask; take this risk, do something differently for Scotland, for all our people. 

And I and many more, I’m sure, will put our money, our hearts and our souls into this for Scotland to once again lead the modern world.

Sir Tom Hunter is a serial entrepreneur and philanthropist.