The SNP’s Wellbeing Economy Secretary has insisted Tuesday’s programme for government will “unleash Scotland’s economic potential” as he admitted his party will need time to restore trust with businesses.

Humza Yousaf will use his keynote speech at Holyrood on Tuesday to set out his government’s legislative agenda for the next 12 months.

But Wellbeing Economy Secretary Neil Gray has insisted the blueprint will feature lots “for people who are interested in the economy to be excited about”.

However, he admitted that work is needed to restore the trust of the business community with his party after a study by the Fraser of Allander Institute found less than 10% of companies believe the SNP understands the needs of businesses.

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My Gray suggested that some firms have not forgiven the SNP for the restrictions placed on them during the Covid pandemic to help protect public health.

The cabinet secretary told the BBC’s Sunday Show that the programme for government will help boost Scotland’s economy.

He said: “We are looking to make sure we are doing what we can, and within the powers that we have, to unleash Scotland’s economic potential – whether that is in renewable energy or it’s supporting out first-class businesses and ensuring that they have a good operating base, a good landscape of which to do business.”

He added that measures “supporting people to start their own business” and “supporting people into work” will be brought forward.

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Pressed over speculation the Scottish Government could further hike tax for higher earners at the next Budget, Mr Gray said his administration wants to “ensure the taxation that we seek to bring in is proportionate”, adding that the current set-up is “already bearing considerable fruit”.

He said: “We want to make sure that we maintain a progressive taxation system – a proposal that the broadest shoulders bear the greatest burden.

“That is progressive, it is fair and it is about ensuring that all of us have the best possible public services.”

Asked about the lack of business trust for his party, Mr Gray pointed to “the new deal for business” that will help “reset the relationship there is between the government and our private sector partners”.

He insisted that “the government does care about business.”

Mr Gray added: “We know we cannot have a good society without a good economy and vice versa. So obviously we are wanting to make sure that we support our private sector partners and businesses so they can continue to grow and continue to make investments.

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“It does take time to rebuild trust and we’re going to be judged on our actions, not just our words.”

He stressed that “the Westminster-controlled cost-of-living crisis is having a devastating impact on our businesses”.

Mr Gray admitted there were “a number of factors” that have contributed to the SNP losing the trust of businesses.

He added: “We had the Covid pandemic that made the operation of business very challenging, the cumulative impact of regulation which we are looking to try to do what we can to overcome them.”

The senior SNP minister insisted “we are a party of economic growth” after criticism of his government partners, the Scottish Greens, opposing unlimited economic growth.

He stressed the Scottish Government wants “to build a wellbeing economy that is green, fair and growing”.

He said: “It appears Labour and the Tories have abandoned the first two parts of that.

“We have to have the interests of business at heart because they do generate the wealth that we need to ensure we can invest in public services.”