Two of Scotland’s top entrepreneurs have welcomed the collapse of the collaboration between the Scottish Green party and the SNP, while underlining the pressing need for an economically viable transition to net zero. 

Speaking on the Go Radio Business Show, in the wake of First Minister Humza Yousaf ending the power-sharing deal, Lord Willie Haughey and Sir Tom Hunter criticised the Greens’ policies and their detrimental impact on Scottish business.

“The most interesting thing said was by Stephen Flynn, the leader of the SNP in Westminster, that in the interests of the people of Scotland, the best thing to do is to throw the pact in the bin and he’s 100% correct,” said Lord Haughey.

Sir Tom pointed out the majority of business people understand the need for a transition to net zero, adding: “Everybody wants to leave the planet a bit better than they found it for our kids and grandkids. However, the targets for net zero set by Nicola Sturgeon and the Greens were political. They were not thought through and they actually harmed Scottish business. 

“The Greens, who were held out as this magical party who were going to solve it all, actually made things worse for Scotland. If  their co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater were a bit better as politicians, I think they could have made Scotland better. 

“However, the Greens didn’t believe in economic growth. How are we going to pay for the NHS, education, the police, all the free things the SNP shout about? Of course, they’re not free. There’s no magic money tree. 

“I would hope whoever the new Government is – and it’s all moving so fast just now – that they do have green credentials, but also thought-out policies for the transition. It doesn’t happen one day and we just rip up everything that’s already there. That’s anarchy!”

Lord Haughey went further in his criticism of the Green party co-leaders, saying: “I think Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater have demonstrated they’re economically incompetent. Everyone would love to move towards a greener Scotland but the people at the moment making big decisions on behalf of the Green party have no idea what they’re doing. That’s been proven. 

“Every teacher, every nurse, every police officer, every ambulance driver, be aware: when you’ve a party who don’t believe in growth, there’s going to be a big, big problem paying people going forward.”

Lord Haughey pointed to the Deposit Return Scheme as an example of policies that had harmed businesses and pinpointed the new housing bill as another potential failure.

“If the Government were trying to pretend the Bill is not going to affect investment in Scotland, they received the response loud and clear this week when the Housing Minister held a conference and every large developer told them they had killed the market. 

“People in government need to come up with a better story about how we’re going to deliver our fight against climate change in Scotland. We held COP26 and now we are the first country to say we’re not going to make our targets. It’s embarrassing.

“I would say to anybody with any sense within the Green party: have a look back and see what your scorecard is for someone who’s been part of the Government and every single thing you’ve done. 

“In a business sense, the influence of the Greens within the Government over the past 18 months has been nothing short of shocking. Some of their policies have been diabolical.”

Sir Tom agreed, adding : “Scotland is a laughing stock due to the political nature of putting out these targets. We wanted to be just a bit better than England. Nobody thought through how we were going to deliver this. We just said: ‘England’s doing this so we are going to be better and quicker and shinier.’ It’s a disgrace. It’s time for a reset.”