THE Scottish Government’s "reset" with business will take a key step forward this week with the first meeting on a new forum intended to deepen links with the private sector.

Reducing the burden of red tape on business, will be a key goal. 

Promised by Humza Yousaf in his “Fresh Start for Scotland” mission statement last month, the New Deal for Scottish Businesses group will convene in Edinburgh on Wednesday.

It will be co-chaired by Wellbeing Economy Secretary Neil Gray and Dr Poonam Malik, Head of Investments at the University of Strathclyde. 

Mr Yousaf hopes the joint approach with business leaders can boost the economy through the smarter use of policy levers, with initial ideas reported to him over the summer.

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The creation of the liaison group is also a tacit acknowledgement that relations between the government and business deteriorated under Nicola Sturgeon's administration.

In an effort to reset that relationship, Mr Yousaf last month delayed the controversial deposit return scheme and went “back to the drawing board” on a proposed alcohol advertising ban.

The New Deal group, which includes the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, Scottish Retail Consortium and other big players, will focus on economic conditions and performance, improving the business environment, and a transition to a wellbeing economy. 

Its aims include the earlier and deeper involvement of business in policy development; better and lighter regulation; potential business rate changes; how business can contribute to the government’s national goals; and the improved sharing of data and analysis.

Mr Gray said: “I look forward to working with Dr Malik and other members of the New Deal Group to deepen our relationship with business, not only by engaging and communicating, but actively working together to achieve common goals and align Scottish Government policy with business.

”In the Scottish Government’s Policy Prospectus, the First Minister pledged to help business and trade to thrive and maximise the opportunity of the green economy, with fairness at its heart.

“Only by working closely with business can we hope to achieve an economy which prospers while caring for people and planet. This is our vision for a wellbeing economy.”

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Dr Malik, whose background is in life sciences, said: “The establishment of this Group is timely, given external turbulence and big economic challenges, but I believe we can work through these together to make the most of the opportunities of a Just Transition.

“My experience has shown me that improved collaboration and meaningful engagement can bring about positive change in growing economies and support businesses with purpose to have a positive impact on communities. 

“We will take a refreshed approach to our common vision and shared economic goals to deliver a healthy and happy future with the equitable and fair society that we all aspire to.”