Labour’s Brexit stance and attitude to free university tuition for people living in Scotland has been in the headlines in recent days, as First Minister Humza Yousaf has attempted to put the spotlight on both.

Meanwhile, Mr Yousaf and the SNP have drawn further heavy criticism from some in the business community over the Scottish Government’s Budget, which was passed last week.

Some of this discontent was around the somewhat familiar issue of the business rates relief for hospitality, leisure and retail businesses south of the Border not being replicated in Scotland.

Clearly some businesses in these sectors feel strongly that they are in need of support. However, there is no doubting that money is tight for the Scottish Government, in no small part because of the Tories having weighed so heavily on UK growth and consequently tax revenues for years.

Concerns have also been expressed over what the Scottish Government’s Budget means for the number of new houses that will be built north of the Border, at a time when there looks to be a desperate need for further provision throughout the UK.

It is difficult to shake the impression that Mr Yousaf may have created a rod for his own back by making such a big play of his New Deal for Business after he became First Minister last spring. The simple reality is that at any time, and particularly in these difficult circumstances with tight budgets, it will be impossible to satisfy all the demands of business.

That is not to say that Mr Yousaf should not have prioritised trying to tackle a perception on the part of business that the Scottish Government was not on its side. Rather, it is to highlight the difficulty of achieving harmony on this front.

READ MORE: Alarming talk on future of free university tuition in Scotland

It is fair to say that things have looked somewhat far from harmonious of late.

Things are clearly heating up as a UK general election looms, so one thing that looks certain is that we will be hearing a lot more political spin in one or other direction about the Scottish business and economic scene.

Oftentimes, much of the important detail tends to get lost in the big noise from the politicians about Scottish business and the economy so proper analysis of the survey evidence and data is crucial.

It is also important to consider the effect of certain key policies on the economy, digging beneath politicians’ soundbites.

That said, sometimes the politicians are on the money when they take aim at their opponents.

And Mr Yousaf, while not without his troubles to seek in trying to placate the business community, was right to point out last week that Scotland “did not vote for Brexit”.

He also declared that “Westminster has taken a sledgehammer” to the Scottish economy through the departure from the European Union. Certainly, the ruling Conservatives have done just that.

Mr Yousaf added: “It’s hitting everything from our bills and our industries to our workforce and our students.”

It is indeed.

READ MORE: Ian McConnell: Labour leader easiest target for Yousaf with U-turn

As observed in my column in The Herald on Wednesday, Labour’s response on this point amounted to whataboutery.

Instead of trying to explain why on earth it now backs Brexit, Labour chose to respond by challenging the First Minister for not supporting a rise in the North Sea windfall tax.

The windfall tax is clearly a valid subject for debate, but it is absolutely nothing to do with Brexit.

Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland Ian Murray, as well as criticising Mr Yousaf’s stance on the entirely unrelated subject of the windfall tax, declared: “The best way to improve our relationship with our European partners is to elect a Labour government that will fundamentally reset the relationship with our friends in the EU in the national interest.”

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Yet, with Labour having ruled out the UK rejoining the single market and customs union, there is surely little hope that what the party considers to be fundamentally resetting the relationship would amount to anything more than a hill of beans.

This impression has been reinforced by the type of changes to the trading relationship with Europe that Labour has flagged. It has, for example, talked about measures that might make life easier for the professional services sector post-Brexit.

However, the colossal damage from Brexit comes from the loss of frictionless trade and the free movement of people between the UK and European Economic Area.

And, as observed, Labour has ruled out rejoining the single market so this damage would continue under its plans.

My column in The Herald on Friday highlighted the importance of free university tuition for people living in Scotland to the economy north of the Border.

The political hot potato of free university tuition was raised by Mr Yousaf following comments from Michael Marra at the recent Scottish Labour conference in Glasgow.

Labour MSP Mr Marra declared: “We are not talking about tuition fees, but we are talking about having to find a new formula, a new way of addressing that system.”

Pressed on what that would look like – during a fringe event organised by the University of Dundee – he said: “There’s lots of models across Europe. So there’s post hoc in terms of after the event, things that we had previously whether it be graduate taxes, whether it be endowments.”

Labour should reflect long and hard on the economic and societal benefits of free university tuition before thinking about riding a coach and horses, should it get the opportunity, through the current advantageous arrangements in Scotland.