MacDonald slmas 'out of touch' CBI Chairman

Gray on the spot with support for McMillan's political attack

Lack of support for small business bonus begs questions of director's credibility

SNP Candidate for Falkirk East, Grangemouth Councillor Angus MacDonald has said Labour’s Holyrood leader Iain Gray is on the spot after backing the political and incoherent attack by CBI Director Iain McMillan on the SNP Government’s business policies, which included his support for the privatisation of public services.

Councillor Angus MacDonald, who is also the SNP's Economic Development spokesperson in Falkirk district pointed out that Iain McMillan had previously said that paying for the GARL project – another CBI policy Iain Gray has said he will support - should be paid for by abolishing free personal care.

The credibility of Mr McMillan’s politicised attack and his claim to speak for business was put into question by a number of omissions and glaring contradictions.

• He failed to even mention the Small Business Bonus scheme the SNP government has introduced, which has helped hundreds of thousands of small business, thus raising questions about whether he will support its continuation.

• He attacked the SNP government for not making any hard decisions but then went on to attack them for having to scrap the GARL project with no reference to the fact that cuts had been made by the Labour
government in Westminster.

• His attack on the SNP Government for scrapping the GARL project is at odds with his previous position that if there was a squeeze in public spending, investment in the roads network must come before airport links.

• He claimed the SNP Government had taken no action on public service reform despite the fact they have saved millions on central procurement - including £117 million saved by the SFT in contrast to
PFI - and that they have set up the Christie Commission to come up with a set of proposals which ensure Scotland can continue to have first-class public services.

• He criticised the costs of the National Conversation, when the Calman Commission, which he sat on, cost taxpayers more than the National Conversation, only to come up with proposals which would to leave Scotland worse off because of its inherent deflationary bias.

Commenting, Angus MacDonald said:

"Iain McMillan's latest diatribe highlights how out of touch he is with his own membership and how he is ignoring the necessity for political neutrality in his post as CBI chairman. Every time he opens his mouth his crediblity takes a nose dive. It is clear this individual has been in post for too long and CBI Scotland must seriously consider distancing itself from such a biased spokesperson. No wonder many prominent businessmen now say Iain MacMillan doesn’t speak for them"

"In addition, Iain Gray's support for Iain McMillan's blatantly political rhetoric under the guise of CBI Scotland chief says it all! If Iain Gray wants to support his namesake’s attack on the SNP, he has to answer if he will now privatise public services as Iain McMillan demands? And will he pay for GARL by abolishing free personal care as Mr McMillan has suggested? If not how will he pay for it?

“Iain McMillan’s credibility as a spokesperson for business has been in question for years, and he has been caught out before making claims that suit his personal political agenda. That he doesn’t even mention the small business bonus or acknowledge the existence of the Christie Commission speaks volumes about his lack of partiality.

"As does the fact that he can't acknowledge the millions saved on central procurement and the £117 million saved by the SFT last year, in contrast to PFI.

"Frankly, I’m not surprised at this latest politicised attack.

“What is surprising is Iain Gray's almost unequivocal support for Iain McMillan. One wonders if Iain Gray welcomes Iain McMillan’s omission of the small business bonus as an SNP Government achievement as Gray has failed to say if he supports its continuation.”

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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