Trade welcome new First Minister and highlight areas that require support


Humza Yousaf  has been elected as the new leader of the SNP and became First Minister on Tuesday (March 28). His appointment has been broadly welcomed by  trade bodies who hope the new appointment will mean closer working relationships with the hospitality sector. They highlighted the need for the development of strategies and solutions around DRS and Non-domestic rates reform, and more widely the drinks and tourism sectors.

Mr Yousaf, who ran his campaign as the “continuity candidate,’ defeated Ms Forbes by 52% to 48% with the results being revealed at  Murrayfield. The total turnout was 70% with Humza Yousaf’s first preference votes reaching 24,336 and once his second preference votes were redistributed he had 26,032 which represented 52.1% of the vote.

On winning he said, he felt like the “luckiest man in the world.” Mr Yousaf now becomes, at 37, Scotland’s youngest first minister and the first ever person from a minority ethnic background to hold the post. He is also the first Muslim to lead a major UK party.

Mr Yousaf was the first Muslim to be appointed to the Scottish government in 2012, and subsequently worked for other MSPs, including Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon. In 2016 he was appointed transport minister and became justice secretary in 2018 where he introduced the Hate Crime and Public Order bill. Mr Yousaf became health secretary in 2021. While working in this role, he has faced criticism for long waiting times and for urging the public to “think twice” before calling 999 in September 2021.

One of his first first headaches will be the Deposit Return Scheme. During his campaign he said, small firms, such as craft breweries and gin makers, should be excluded for the first year but also said, “I can’t see any point in pausing the scheme when the big boys, the Coca Colas, the Pepsis of this world, they are already taking part in about 40 DRS schemes across the world.”

A spokesperson for NTIA Scotland said, “We welcome Humza Yousaf as the new SNP leader and First Minister elect, and look forward to working closely with the new leadership team over the coming months.”

“It is important that the First Minister quickly recognises the immediate economic and policy challenges that businesses face, and commits to working with the night time economy and the hospitality industry to develop an effective roadmap on both timing and structuring of impending policies such as DRS, Non Domestic Rates reform and on the wider economic recovery.”

Marc Crothall, CEO Scottish Tourism Alliance, “The STA would like to congratulate Humza Yousaf on his appointment as leader of the SNP; we look forward to having progressive and productive dialogue over the coming weeks to ensure that Scotland’s tourism sector is acknowledged and recognised as one of our country’s most significant export earners.

“In his letter issued last week to the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, Mr Yousaf committed to having an open-door policy with business communities and offered assurance that economic growth is a priority.

“It is not before time that the Scottish Government commits to putting the economy first to ensure fiscal sustainability.  For tourism, this means investment in our tourism product to ensure we remain globally competitive as a tourist destination and for the new government to work with our tourism industry to shape and deliver policies which will produce economic benefits rather than harms.

“Mr Yousaf has said that building a prosperous and fairer Scotland is dependent on building a strong working relationship with business; we very much hope that he fully commits to working with Scotland’s tourism sector to implement positive solutions as a counter to the existing and proposed policies which are negatively impacting our sector.”


Category: News
Tags: First Minister, Humza Yousaf, Marc Crothall, NTIA Scotland, SNP