Tuesday, 18 November 2014
Elite Ayrshire Business Circle executive chairman Norman Geddes attends Business in Parliament Conference
By: Murdoch MacDonald
Photographs: Andrew Cowan
Frazer Coogans Commercial Solicitors managing partner Norman Geddes recently attended the annual Business in the Parliament Conference in his capacity as executive chairman of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.
Norman (pictured above left) was invited to the Conference by Chic Brodie, MSP for South of Scotland (pictured above right).
The event is jointly organised by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament and held at Holyrood in Edinburgh. Now in its ninth year, ‘Business in the Parliament’ addresses the major issues that matter to Scottish businesses and this year’s conference tackled the question of how to shape Scotland’s economic future.
It commenced with a Dinner in the Garden Lobby hosted by the Presiding Officer. This was attended by many MSPs.
The following day the Conference was addressed by Alex Salmond (pictured above) in one of his final speeches before retiring as First Minister.
Scottish Parliament Presiding Officer, the Rt. Hon Tricia Marwick MSP chaired the debate, and said: “As the nation’s Parliament, we are uniquely placed to host this event. It is right that Holyrood should be a forum for businesses and politicians to engage and debate how best to shape Scotland’s economic future.”
The keynote speech of the Conference was delivered by Jayne-Anne Gadhia (pictured above)), CEO of Virgin Money and chair of Scottish Business in the Community.
She said: "Clearly the time has come to move on from the referendum debate. Whatever your views, we now need to look forward to the next chapter of our country’s story, building upon the relative economic stability the UK is fortunate to enjoy.
“Our shared task and responsibility is to make enhanced devolution work, not just politically but in terms of generating economic growth and building prosperous communities.”
Murdo Fraser MSP (pictured above), Convener of the Parliament’s Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, then outlined the purpose of the conference and explained how business and politicians can work together.
He said: “Engagement is very much our purpose today - to bring those involved in the politics of business closer to those embroiled in the business of politics.
“Profit needn’t be a dirty word. It should mean growth, jobs and investment. It should mean consideration of societal needs as well as economic needs. It should mean being attuned to the needs of communities as well as markets.
“It is in all our interests for Scotland to become a better place to live and work.”
There then followed a selection of six Conference Workshops, each chaired by a Minister or MSP and addressed by prominent business speakers.
Norman Geddes commented: “I attended the workshop entitled "Promoting Economic Development in Scotland's Communities" which was chaired by Chic Brodie, MSP for South Scotland. We enjoyed fascinating opening talks from Iain Scott of 1001 Enterprising Scots and Jane Wood of Scottish Business in the Community. There then followed a lively and engaging discussion among those present which was ably chaired by Chic Brodie.”
The Conference concluded with an address by John Swinney MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth.
He said: “The Scottish Government recognises the importance of rebalancing and reindustrialising the Scottish economy. We are working with business to support a culture of entrepreneurial ambition and innovation by attracting inward investment and growing exports.
“This conference brings together a diverse range of individuals and businesses from across all of Scotland with different experiences, talents and ambitions. Everyone attending shares a common goal, we all want a Scotland that grows and prospers. It is important that we work together, rise to the challenges and maximise the opportunities for business here in Scotland.”
In conclusion, Elite Ayrshire Business Circle executive chairman Norman Geddes commented: “This is the third time I have attended the Business in Parliament Conference and I commend it to all who have an interest in promoting business in Scotland.
“The speeches and discussions are of the highest calibre, and other recent speakers have included Sir Tom Hunter and Ross McEwan, CEO of RBS.
“The issues raised by delegates are recorded and considered by the appropriate Parliamentary committees, giving an opportunity to all to influence the future direction of business in Scotland.”