A SENIOR SNP MSP has criticised the make up of Humza Yousaf's government as it tries to reset its relationship with business.

Former trade minister Ivan McKee, who stood down from his role in the administration after Mr Yousaf became First Minister, said "a government without any business experience in its ranks starts off at a disadvantage".

His remarks are likely to be seen as a veiled negative assessment of the current government which has no cabinet members who have spent substantial parts of their careers in industry.

READ MORE: Ivan McKee offers insight into government-business relationship

Neither of the people in the top roles in charge of finance and the economy, Deputy First Minister Finance Secretary Shona Robison and Wellbeing Economy Secretary Neil Gray have previously worked in the private sector with Ms Robison spending most of her working life in politics and Mr Gray working as a BBC journalist before becoming a politician.

Lorna Slater, the Scottish Greens co-leader, who holds a junior ministerial role in the government, has probably the most business experience having previously worked in the renewable energy sector before becoming an MSP.

It is understood the comments made by Mr McKee, who pursued a successful career in business before entering politics, do not relate to his own exit from the SNP led administration.

"Businesses need to feel they are being listened to, and not just being used as a prop for a photocall," said Mr McKee, in an article in The Herald.

"Having ‘lived experience’ helps. The scars of having had to make payroll at the end of the month, or sweating over whether to bet the firm on investing in a new opportunity gives an ability to understand what matters to business at a deeper level, and to communicate in a way that resonates. Sure businesses don’t expect politicians to be experts, but being able to have empathy beyond sound bites really helps. A government without any business experience in its ranks starts off at a disadvantage."

Mr McKee, the MSP for Glasgow Provan and a columnist for The Herald, was former finance secretary Kate Forbes' campaign manager at the start of the SNP leadership contest which resulted in a narrow victory for Mr Yousaf.

Following Mr Yousaf's victory, Mr McKee stood down as trade and business minister after five years in government describing a sense of frustration that his role had not allowed him to make the improvements for the business environment that he wanted. 

Since becoming First Minister Mr Yousaf has said he wants to reset his relations with business and has paused some of the policies put forward by his predecessor Nicola Sturgeon's government that have been met with fierce resistance from business.

They include the controversial recycling initiative, the Deposit Return Scheme, and a proposed ban on alcohol advertising which was under consideration as a plan to improve public health.

"Much of the regulation that impacts businesses starts life with good intentions elsewhere in government - in health, housing or environment. However too often proposals come rolling downhill to the business brief, written in language that doesn’t talk to business and containing proposals that don’t chime with reality, setting the conversation off on the wrong foot. Getting business into the loop early is critical," said Mr McKee, writing in his latest column.

"Despite the hard work of many the perception persists that government needs to reset its relationship with business. I know the First Minister understands that. Government now needs to demonstrate it is able to deliver on that."

The Scottish Government has been approached for comment.