Pathfinders to the Parliament
Lord Macdonald, the Scottish Business & Industry Minister, launched the Pathfinders to the Parliament initiative on 20 January 1999. The aim of the initiative was to give key industrial and business sectors the opportunity to set out their priorities for action by the forthcoming Scottish Parliament.
Currently there are 13 sectors which have 'Pathfinder groups' each with a chair, appointed by Lord Macdonald, they chairs would then make their own sectors appointments and to decide how their group would function.
The 13 Pathfinder Groups & Chairs
- Construction - Sir Fraser Morrison, Morrison Construction
- Defence Sir Bob Easton, GEC
- Drinks & Hospitality Andrew Dewar-Durie, Allied Distillers
- Electronics Hugh Aitken, Scottish Electronics Forum
- Engineering Peter Hughes, Scottish Engineering
- Finance Mike Ross, Scottish Widows
- Manufacturing John Ward, Macfarlane Group
- Retail Tom Hunter, TBH Trading
- Small Business Gerard Eadie, CR Smith Glaziers
- Textiles Belinda Robertson, Belinda Robertson Partnership
- Tourism Lord Gordon of Strathblane, Scottish Tourist Board
- Transport Brian Souter, Stagecoach Holdings
- Utilities Ian Robinson, ScottishPower (The former chief executive of Scottish Power is now on the board of S&N)
Recommendations of the Pathfinder Groups
Each group had to compile a report to present to the Scottish Parliamnet before the The Pathfinder Groups were asked to report by early March with a view to bringing together the reports from the Groups in a single document which would be issued before the Scottish Parliament elections on 6 May.
Issues raised by the Pathfinders: Taxation, skills & education (particulary entrepreneurial skills), There was also a strong view that the Scottish Parliament should not put Scottish business at a disadvantage by adopting financial or regulatory policies which put additional burdens on Scottish business and make them less competitive in the global market; transport with a desire to extend road building, developing e-commerce, the planning system deemed to be a constraint on business, a lack of statistics on Scottish business which was felt would aid policy development.
Some of the recommendations from the Groups are not within the powers of the Scottish Parliament to implement such as: tax incentives for companies, and the introduction of a Scottish Transport Bond. These would require an amendment to legislation by Westminster. However, in such cases the Scottish Parliament could lobby for change, and this is recognised by many of the Groups as an important role for the Parliament within the UK and Europe.
Group specific requests included the modernisation of Scottish licensing laws and increased action on retail crime.